Tue | May 23, 2017

JMA: One sector doesn't have to suffer for another to grow

Published:Friday | August 15, 2014 | 8:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

The Jamaica Manufacturers' Association (JMA) wishes to publicly acknowledge the views as expressed by the editor in two recent Gleaner editorials, the latest being in the August 13 edition. Whereas it may be challenging to accept criticism, we are also now presented with an opportunity to reassess and re-evaluate our work and efforts as an association.

The JMA has been, and will continue to be, actively engaged with other business support organisations such as the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica, Jamaica Chamber of Commerce and Jamaica Exporters' Association, along with many of the ministries and agencies of government and our trade unions on critical policy matters, including, most recently, tax reform, trade policy, trade agreement negotiations, our energy policy, as well working closely with the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, the Jamaica Agricultural Society, and the agricultural and tourism ministries to strengthen the linkages between all of these sectors of our economy. These collaborative efforts do not always make the press, but are vital.

Nevertheless, there is always room for improvement, and we will, going forward, examine how we can improve on our participation and contribution in shaping policy frameworks to the betterment of Jamaica.

We believe that the core of the matters raised is related to how to ensure that the Jamaican productive (not just the manufacturing) sector is not placed at a disadvantage to our regional and global competitors, while not having an adverse impact on our consumers here and overseas. In this regard, we will continue to push for policies that enable fair trade.

NO SPECIAL BENEFITS

We fundamentally disagree with the position that Jamaican manufacturers are accessing any benefits that our regional or global competitors do not have. In many cases, the contrary has been shown to be true and we have many quantitative data sets to support this view.

Further, we also disagree that, for one sector of the economy to gain, another has to lose. Surely, we can collectively plan for and implement policies that can see many, if not all, of our economic sectors growing at the same time. Further, we do agree that greater levels of rigorous quantitative analysis on the part of the JMA, as well as others, will help Jamaica to achieve sustained growth.

With that being said, the JMA will continue to be what it has been - an advocacy organisation seeking to ensure the implementation of policies that enhance the competitiveness of the sector and that of the country. We will also have to strengthen our own capabilities while partnering with other associations, educational institutions and the Government, in a continuing spirit of partnership.

BRIAN PENGELLEY

President, JMA