A newly elected government now facing a new phase of the COVID-19 pandemic in Jamaica; Local public health officials in consultation with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organization agreed on September 2 that the country is now experiencing community transmission of the virus.
This is expected to result in significant spikes in positive cases and increased difficulty in tracing contacts of existing cases.
Jamaica’s reality in the last six months has been the collision of two crises as measures taken to stem the explosion of COVID-19 cases are having a negative impact on the economy.
Preliminary figures from the planning institute of Jamaica continue to confirm the gravity of the crisis facing the country.
Director-General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) Dr. Wayne Henry has disclosed that for the April to June quarter the economy contracted by double digits.
Dr Henry also cites the slowdown and downturn in the construction industry and building activities as another reason for the contraction.
Traditional exports and the services industry took big hits during the period. The restaurant and hotel sector also suffered a major decline. The outlook is for the economy to decline by between 8 and 10 percent for the fiscal year.
But the PIOJ is also forecasting that the predicted economic decline will be tempered by particular events such as increased spending due to the just concluded general election.
Dr Henry says it is not all doom and gloom as he encouraged business interests to take advantage of new opportunities.
A similar tone was struck by re-elected Prime Minister Andrew Holness during his address minutes after being sworn in at king’s House on September 7.
Campaigning on a promise of recovering stronger together the prime minister outlines the road to economic recovery.
Prime Minister Holness promised additional support for small and medium sized businesses.
On the fiscal side, the prime minister promised to facilitate the independence of the central bank and the reform of Jamaica Customs.
Prime Minister Holness was also clear that while the government moves to continue taking steps to preserve lives extreme measures were not first options in stemming the COVID-19 spike.
How one small manufacturer got innovative and expanded into hand sanitizer production in the midst of COVID-19. Stay with us.
Innovate or die may have to be the mantra for many local businesses trying to navigate these difficult times.
Hema Luxe Limited is a small manufacturing company which started out specializing in skin care products. Now they’ve diversified their product offering to meet new market needs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is Managing Director is Emma Subrati.