Follow Roger's model: boost local jobs

Published: Wednesday | January 30, 2013 Comments 0

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Agriculture Minister Roger Clarke's announcement that liquid eggs will be used in the School Feeding Programme to replace portions of imported liquid butter oil is definitely a step in the right direction.

We are aware that liquid eggs will cost a bit more than the imported liquid butter oil. The positive of this move, however, is to strengthen the local egg industry, thus creating more employment and the saving of valuable foreign exchange.

The more meaningful employment that is created results in a more stable Jamaica, with a reduction in crime and a more positive outlook of the population.

Construction is the barometer of our economy. It employs the entire cross section of the Jamaican labour force - from the man/woman just coming out of prison, to the engineer.

Short-sighted approach

At present, the Government and the National Housing Trust are placing more emphasis on precast systems, vis--vis the block-and-steel system. Their rationale is that precast is a little cheaper. This approach is most short-sighted.

Precast construction hires very few workers/tradesmen and it is estimated that for every worker that the precast system uses, block-and-steel uses eight. It means that for every seven workers benefiting from the precast system, 56 workers benefit from the block-and-steel system.

The block-and-steel system will reduce unemployment and the accompanying ills in our society that unemployment creates quicker than the precast alternative. This will result in an uptick in the economy.

Over the long haul, the use of block-and-steel system will be to the betterment of Jamaica.

We do hope the minister of housing will follow Minister Clarke's example and use building systems that will reduce unemployment.

GEORGE OWENS

Spanish Town PO

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