The Jamaica Manufacturers' Association (JMA) is discussing with the Government its proposal that legislation be enacted to make it mandatory for the State to first engage local suppliers of goods and services before attempting to sources these overseas.
"The importance of procurement cannot be overstated," JMA President Metry Seaga said during a press briefing at the association's head office at 85a Duke Street, downtown Kingston, on Wednesday.
"The Government, as the largest purchaser of goods and services in the country, needs to give a higher weighting to local companies to ensure that we are competitive and to ensure that they spend our tax money here at home. I think that it is important that we realise that every Jamaican product sold is a job for another Jamaican. There can be no substantive growth in our economy if we persist in being
a nation of importers. It simply is not going to happen," he pointed out.
Seaga also lamented the inadequacy of suitable factory space, a situation which remains unresolved after two years of discussion with the Factories Corporation of Jamaica.
"The demand for the availability of suitable space for the productive sector is simply not being met, particularly for smaller or micro and small manufacturing. We have been in dialogue with the Factories Corporation of Jamaica over the last two years to address the issue, but to no avail.
"We find the slow rate of response by the Factories Corporation of Jamaica unsatisfactory and will continue to make representation to the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation for consideration to be given to a development-type framework for improving accessibility and infrastructure of available factory space to all manufa-cturers," he noted.