Minister Harris Calls For Diversification In Manufacturing

Senior Minister - Dr. Timothy Harris

Senior Minister – Dr. Timothy Harris

Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
October 11, 2010 (CUOPM)

Senior Minister and Minister of International Trade, Industry and Commerce, Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris says a strategy must be devised to diversify the Federation’s manufacturing sector.

In an address at a ceremony to mark the opening of Manufacturing Awareness Week at the C.A. Paul Southwell Industrial Park, Minister Harris disclosed that the manufacturing sector provided direct employment for about 2,200 people at the beginning of 2010 and it contributed US$42 million in foreign exchange earnings in 2009.

“Our export manufacturing sector is still very narrow and we must devise a strategy to diversity it in our national self interest. The enclave export manufacturing sector is largely an electronic and electrical sub-sector with entities like Harowe Servo Ltd, Electrofab, Jaro Electronics, Lutron Liamuiga and Kajola Kristada with a track record of competing against other entities worldwide and doing it successfully,” Minister Harris said.

He mentioned the ICT sub-sector of which Reed Data Services is exiting, St. Kitts Brush Company and Clear Harbour.

“Important manufacturers catering principally to our domestic market include Sun Island Clothes Ltd, Bottling Company Ltd, CSR Distillers, the St. Kitts Breweries, St. Kitts Masonry Products Ltd, and CONTEC,” said Dr. Harris, adding: “We need to work on expanding the incipient works at agro-processing and bottling of local juices, jams, jellies, peppers, etc.”

Dr. Harris, who is also Minister of Consumer Affairs, Agriculture, Marine Resources, Cooperatives and Constituency Empowerment, is of the view that as the manufacturing sector expands, more employment opportunities can be created along the value chain.

“We see several other small entrepreneurs vending their trade largely benefitting from competitive prices for Brewery products and plastic bottles made by Victory Packaging Ltd allied to Sun Island Clothes Ltd.  This is shared prosperity and we require more of this,” he said.

Dr. Harris urged all stakeholders in manufacturing to remain positive in their outlook on growth and development, to understand and appreciate that challenging times must themselves be challenged; and although confidence may be tested, there must never be retreat or surrender.

“Manufacturing, whilst at this juncture of global recession, must seek to redouble its energies and creativities to launch a renaissance, immediately upon the restitution of global economic balance. At the same time, Government must continue to demonstrate that it is doing all in its power to help to improve the growth of the productive potential of our economy, and maintain the atmosphere for businesses to invest and grow,” said Senior Minister Harris.

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