Jamaica Manufacturing Association (JMA) President Brian Pengelley last Thursday night charged the Government to retrofit its ministries and agencies with locally made products, even the toilet paper.
It's a new twist on JMA's mantra, 'Buy Jamaica, Build Jamaica' which is focused on consumers. Pengelley made the call at the launch of the four-day Expo Jamaica - which ends today, Sunday - under the theme 'Brand Jamaica to the World!' at the National Arena.
"I am asking that each leader of a ministry or government agency issue a directive tomorrow morning that Jamaican made products must be used in their respective entities.This can start with toilet paper, cleaning products, uniforms, furniture, and office supplies," declared Pengelley, who is a sales executive at Red Stripe Jamaica.
"We know that our manufacturers are producing quality products, so I do not want to hear that as an excuse," he said.
premier trade event
JMA's buy Jamaica build Jamaica campaign calls on Jamaicans to buy more local products in an effort to stimulate economic activity and reduce the drain on foreign exchange from imports.
Organised by the JMA and the Jamaica Exporters' Association (JEA) in collaboration with Jampro, Expo Jamaica is the country's biennial premier trade event.
Expo Jamaica 2012 rides on the Jamaica 50 festivities and the summer London 2012 Olympics.The organisers hope that these events will enhance Jamaica's global image and create heightened interest in local businesses and their products.
Roughly 250 companies are represented in the expo exhibiting services including logistics, software, banking; and goods, including beverages, food, furniture, beds, and window blinds.
Pengelley also urged consumers to buy Jamaican products and for manufacturers to maintain quality, improve productivity and penetrate new markets in order to deliver economic and fiscal growth.
Transport Minister Dr Omar Davies, who is acting prime minister while PM Portia Simpson Miller is on an overseas tour, told the expo that much of the productive potential of the island remained untapped both in the goods and services sectors. He said increased linkages between both sectors would create growth opportunities.
"There are many unexploited opportunities in the traditional sectors such as manufacturing and agriculture," Davies said. "We have barely scratched the surface in terms of the linkages between manufacturing, our agriculture sector and tourism."
Davies also identified information communication technology, logistic services and culture as offering linkages to the manufacturing sector. Davies pledged to reduce government red-tape as he said it hindered business.
trade agreement monitor
Industry Minister Anthony Hylton said that the Government would seek to grow the manufacturing sector by facilitating its exports. As such, Government will set up an enforcement committee to monitor trade agreements, in particular the European Partnership Agreement and the Caricom Single Market trade arrangement.
"These trade arrangements impose benefit and burden for the country. In order to achieve that balance, we must produce competitively and we must have access to the marketplace at competitive prices," he said. "As a consequence, the ministry will embark on a trade enforcement mechanism that seeks to harness expertise resident in the trade board, Fair Trading Commission, Anti-Dumping and Subsidies Commission, Bureau of Standards and Jampro to establish a modern response mechanism to be put for disposal for producers in order to bring about a level playing field," Hylton said.
The Government's investment marketing agency Jampro recruited roughly 150 overseas buyers and 140 local buyers for the expo. International buyers have been registered from countries such as Angola, Antigua, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Ghana, Hungary, Nigeria, Russia, St Lucia, St Vincent, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States of America.