Hanna bemoans import substitution policy
Member of Parliament for St Ann South East Lisa Hanna has described Jamaica's import substitution policy as a dead end for several industries.
She charged that the pursuit of an economic policy of import substitution and protection for the past 50 years has only created monopolies and benefitted a few.
According to Hanna, this approach by respective administrations has not created an export-driven economy or led to any significant export of manufactured goods despite substantial duty protection.
In her contribution to the Sectoral Debate in Gordon House on Tuesday, Hanna pointed out that over the past 10 years Jamaica has consistently imported four times more than it exported.
The Opposition MP argued that the country's agriculture policy supports the protection of locally-grown Irish potatoes despite Jamaica's lack of competitive edge in growing the crop.
“Our production cost to produce locally-grown Irish potatoes is 750 per cent above the world market,” she revealed.
According to Hanna, the current farm gate price for one pound of Irish potatoes in Jamaica is J$176 or US$1.14.
“The world market for Irish potatoes is US$.015 or J$23. So Jamaicans are paying seven and a half times more than the price on the world market for this product,” she highlighted.
The St Ann South East MP said that Jamaica's systemic approach to designing and implementing policies has not changed over decades and this has resulted in the country's dismal performance in some areas.
Arguing that the country has failed to offer quality education to most Jamaicans, Hanna asserted that Jamaica is ranked last in the English-speaking Caribbean for literacy.
She said that the country was positioned fifth among the top five Caribbean countries in 2019 for annual labour and productivity and last in per capita exports for the region.
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