Jamaica’s Manufacturing Growth Strategy Activated Amidst the Pandemic – 20 weeks into the management of the COVID-19 pandemic and Jamaica has recorded just over 1000 confirmed cases and 14 deaths. The recovery rate now stands at just under 73 percent. But the Holness administration has vowed to continue with the mission of economic recovery. 

There has been a marked surge in the number of imported cases due to the reopening of the country’s borders on June 15 but for Prime Minister Andrew Holness the closing of the border again is not on the cards. 

He reasoned that keeping the tourism sector afloat was key to the country’s recovery until the economy is sufficiently diversified.

The Prime Minister continued the narrative as he addressed the country on Independence Day August 6.  He rallied the nation to strive towards economic independence even in the midst of a public health crisis. 

The leader of the opposition also outlines his vision for the new Jamaica in this period of economic recovery. 

Three months since that conversation and on July 28 the government tabled in parliament what they’ve dubbed two critical documents to enhance the productivity sector. 

One is the National Investment Policy green paper and the other the national five year Manufacturing Growth Strategy. 

The recently assigned Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce Agriculture and Fisheries Leslie Campbell provided an overview of the developments on behalf of the Senior Portfolio Minister Audley Shaw.

It also highlights that the global logistics hub initiative, the science, technology, and innovation policy, the Climate Change Policy Framework, and the proposed National Investment Policy are all in alignment with the manufacturing strategy. According to the government, the synergies between the various policies reflect the commitment of the government to drive growth within the manufacturing sector.

Manufacturing outputs have remained relatively constant at an estimated 60 to 65 billion dollars over the last five years making the sector the largest contributors to the GDP of all goods-producing industries.

The dominance of agro processing and light manufacturing is also confirmed in their contribution to the country’s GDP. That’s according to the 2018 economic and social survey of Jamaica.

Employment in the sector expanded in 2018 moving from 79 thousand 425 to 79 thousand 600.

The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), had predicted that the real value-added for the manufacturing industry is expected to increase with higher output from food, beverages and tobacco, and other manufacturing sub-industries.

It is anticipated that these will materialize as a result of improvements made in the production equipment, greater demand and growth in available financing options for the industry 

The documents are to be debated by both Houses of Parliament. 

Jamaica’s Manufacturing Growth Strategy Activated Amidst the Pandemic

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