The Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA) said that the longer the government takes to secure an International Monetary Fund (IMF) deal, the more on track Jamaica will be towards economic doom.
JMA president, Brian Pengelley said that with “the government’s failure to ink an IMF agreement, the poor is getting poorer, investor confidence is shaken, businesses are on edge and we are becoming worse off as a country. The government needs to accept that time is not on our side.”
In a release, the JMA said it “supports the call by the PSOJ (Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica) and maintains that as the government seeks to implement public sector, tax and pension reform, stimulating growth in the productive sectors of the economy, decreasing the country’s dependency on imports and living within our means, must be a priority. This means that tough decisions on government and personal spending must be taken by us as we all have a role to play.”
It said the government needs to lead the way in buying Jamaican with the implementation of an effective micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) procurement policy and school book procurement.
“The Minister charged with the Industry, Investment and Commerce portfolio (Anthony Hylton) needs to confront the issues facing the sector, such as bureaucracy, approvals from the Ministry of Finance and lack of available factory space.”
According to Pengelley, “the honeymoon is over.”
As a part of the overall growth plan and to prevent job losses, price increases and the closing of factory doors, the government must ensure that the importation of manufacturing inputs such as raw materials and capital equipment to drive efficiencies continue to be facilitated smoothly for the competitiveness of locally produced products, the release said.
“All Jamaicans need to be aware that we are all affected while the IMF agreement hangs in the balance – particularly the poor and the elderly who are among the most vulnerable in society,” the JMA said.
“The Net International Reserves continue to decline, the dollar continues to devalue, our debt continues on an upward spiral, and the country continues on a path of negative growth,” it added. “Inaction and silence is not a solution.”
The JMA said it expects answers coming out of the government retreat now on at Jamaica House, the actions needed to seal an IMF deal and the measures to stimulate growth as the focus must be about putting Jamaicans back to work.