The Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA) will today elect a new president to replace John Mahfood who has served the organisation for the last two years.
At the entity's annual general meeting to be held in Kingston at NCB's Phoenix Avenue sports club, members will cast their votes for the next president who is to initially lead the organisation for the calendar year 2023-2024.
"This transition of leadership represents a crucial phase in the association's ongoing commitment to the progress, growth and sustainability of local businesses and the economy," The JMEA said in a notice of the meeting, which will also see the selection of a new deputy president and treasurer.
John Mahfood ,commenting on his tenure which ran from 2021-2023, told the Jamaica Observer that while it was a lot of work which required him having to take a lot of time away from his own business, the role gave him a sense of fulfilment and national pride.
"The experience for me has been rewarding. It feels very good when you can help your members and their employees to secure worthwhile partnerships and to arrive at solutions for problems faced," he also told the Business Observer during his final hours as president in which he also took the opportunity to laud the forging of partnerships with institutions such as the HEART/NSTA Trust, VMBS through a pension fund arrangement, the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) and government, as some of those he was most proud.
Underscoring issues faced by members, particularly those related to what he deems "a serious shortage of skilled labour", he said his hope was for the incoming president to continue with existing partnerships, also adding new ones that will significantly help to counter the adverse effects of this phenomena on the productive and other sectors.
"Everyone has been crying out for more staff and if we don't solve the problem, it will hurt our ability as an industry to grow. It is a priority area, which government should try to solve and for bodies such as the JMEA and HEART to see how best they can try to assist â€” if we can address it, it means more people will become employed and that can only bring more good for our country.
"Another area I wish to see continued focus is that concerning the listing of more companies on the JSE, particularly on the Junior Market. With the agreement of the new president, I will continue to be involved in this aspect," Mahfood said.
"I have made my own contributions but I hope the next president will carry on and take the association even further as it tries to build manufacturing locally and to encourage more exports. I'm quite happy with the work we have managed to do for the last two years as it has been very good," the outgoing president further said.
Mahfood, who is also the CEO of Jamaican Teas Limited, said that while he will continue to remain a member of the JMEA, playing a lesser role at the committee level, his main focus going forward will be centred on the future growth and expansion of his company.
"We have a lot of work to do at Jamaican Teas, so I will be going back to work full time, as I begin to train and prepare some of the younger managers for future leadership. We also have to focus on the big move of our factory in the next two to three months to Temple Hall. We've also just appointed two new distributors which are going to require us to ramp up production dramatically, so those in the immediate aftermath will be among the greatest focus for me," Mahfood said to the Business Observer.