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JMEA weathers the highs and lows of operations in last FY, despite COVID-19 effects

Pandohie continues in second term as president

Business reporter

Friday, July 31, 2020

Despite the numerous challenges in its last financial year (FY), the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA) has said that they will continue to evolve as an organisation for the future by strengthening the country's productive base and providing strong advocacy for its members.

At its annual general meeting held yesterday, Richard Pandohie, president of the JMEA said that the entity will continue to push for the resilience and growth of a sustainable manufacturing sector.

“We will continue to stridently defend our membership's interest, more and more. We will take stronger positions on matters of national interest that will drive equitable and inclusive growth for our people,” he said, in his address after being re-elected for a second term to serve as president along with Jerome Miles, general manager of Rainforest Seafoods who was elected as the new deputy president of the association replacing David Martin of Tortuga Caribbean Rum Cake who will now serve as one of eight directors.

Pandohie said that though the year was plagued by challenges ranging from the pandemic to other complexities, including public sector red tapes, crime and foreign exchange liquidity, the JMEA remains committed to keeping the country fed and taking advantage of all opportunities for growth.

“The vulnerability of our economy has been laid bare by the pandemic, and while we could choose to sit back and feel sorry for ourselves, the JMEA sees this as an opportunity to diversify our economic base, focus on value-added exports and create jobs that will lead to growth in the middle class,” he stated.

He said that though many of the members have had to endure revenue and cash flow short falls among all the other effects brought on by the pandemic, the JMEA was still able to make some breakthroughs during the year.

He cited the 50 per cent reduction in export fees charged by the Jamaica Agricultural Commodities Regulatory Authority (JACRA) as well as the development of an export growth plan and the approval of a manufacturing growth strategy as some of the most significant achievements. In its last financial year the entity in its first full year, following a merger of the Jamaica Manufacturers Association (JMA) and Jamaica Exporters Association (JEA), secured profits of some $22.5 million attributable to increased subscriptions and rental income from its Winchester property, acquired under the 2018 merger along with other investment incomes and sponsorship.

The president, in underscoring the need for the manufacturing sector to be a critical component in the diversification strategy, again pointed to the immense value that the sector can add to the economy.

“The productive sector must be a key part in the growth equation,” he stated, noting that the sector could complement others such as the services sector through significant linkages.