Basseterre, St.Kitts (Team UNITY Communications):-Unity Leader, Dr the Hon Timothy Harris, is leading the Team Unity on a listening tour of the manufacturing sector. Dr Harris, a former Minister of International Trade, Industry, Commerce and Consumer affairs, was accompanied by Hon Sam Condor, Hon Eugene Hamilton, Ian “Patches” Liburd, Lindsay Grant, and Douglas Wattley, Chairman of People’s Labour Party.
The familiarization visit covered JARO Ltd., Brush Ltd and Kajola Kristada. Members of the Team Unity said that the alternative government has a duty to listen and to respond to the concerns of the stakeholders. Our policies will be better and more textured because we will be responding to the felt needs not just of management but also of the workers. We are formulating policies, which will benefit from the realities of the key actors in the manufacturing sector.
Dr Harris said that, “Manufacturing is a highly competitive sector. We need to do what we can to expand the contribution of the manufacturing sector to the prosperity of our people. We see this sector as a critical driver to our achieving the 6 percent growth. It can contribute another 1000 jobs over the next 10 years and our Unity government is committed to facilitate its growth and development.”
Dr Harris noted some interesting facts about the manufacturing sector. “The manufacturing sector contributes 8 percent to total economic activity in the country whereas Tourism only contributes about 7 percent. Manufacturing provides jobs for around 2000 employees and it offers more weeks of full time work than tourism.”
We will in the first term;
1. Pursue implementation of the Partial Scope Agreement between St. Kitts and Nevis, Guyana and Brazil. This will create additional markets for our electronics and electrical suppliers. The sector has shown decline as a consequence of global financial fallout, which is still hurting some areas of USA and Europe. Brazil represents a growth market. It is one of the fastest growing users of electronic products.
2. Review application of fiscal incentives to ensure greater effectiveness.
3. Review VAT’s impact on the sector.
4. Incentivize the expedited use of alternative energy solutions in the manufacturing sector, as a medium to long-term solution to the high cost of electricity, which is undermining the competitiveness of the sector and the viability of several factories.
5. Create an alternative Industrial and Commercial Park to meet demands for additional space
6. Outline special support incentives for local manufacturers.
7. Capitalize a fund to provide benefits to long service employees in manufacturing. We regret that in spite the talk from the government, too many people are finding themselves out of work and not withstanding their lengthy service, they are not receiving any long service gratuity.
We can create sustainable jobs which pay decent wages and salaries for our people. Our young people deserve better than the short-term minimum wages which the illegitimate Douglas administration is offering them. Under our Prosperity Agenda our people will do better.