Minister of Trade – Dr. Timothy Harris
Photo By Erasmus Williams
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
January 25, 2011 (SKNIS)
Senior Minister and Minister of International Trade, Industry and Commerce Hon. Dr Timothy Harris says Government will continue to play a leading and proactive role to ensure the sustainability of the local manufacturing sector.
According to Minister Harris the sector accounts for a highly comparative portion of income generation among blue collar workers in the Federation when compared with the tourism industry.
Commenting on the fact that 10 percent of economic activity is generated in the local manufacturing sector, the minister revealed that over 2,153 persons are currently in this field as compared with 2,204 in the Tourism Sector another major employer.
He added specifically, that the manufacturing sector accounts for $19,965.00 on annual salary on average for its workers as compared to the Tourism sector which provides $19,182.00.
Minister Harris toured of two manufacturing facilities on St. Kitts recently; Electrofab and Montserrat Plastics Ltd, and stressed that this kind of interaction would become a regular feature of his Ministry’s communication with the sector to ensure that challenges are addressed to maintain viability.
Minister Harris said the main purpose of the tour was to conduct an assessment of the challenges faced by the industry , marketing opportunities, as well as to pinpoint types of support the ministry can provide.
Discussions with facility managers revealed that Government and the manufacturing plants would have to implement significant energy cost agreements to be able to compete with manufacturers in Mexico, Dominican Republic and China. Significant reductions in the amount of military gadgets required by the United States, as a result of a new U.S. government policy, has also impacted the industry somewhat.
The Senior Minister lauded the production capacity of individuals in the local manufacturing sector, revealing that they are producing medical and military equipment, motorized systems as well as other products such as plastics all of which require great precision for optimal production. He called on residents to familiarize themselves with the industry and to appreciate those who are employed there.
Additionally Minister Harris said the quality of the human resource in this sector is the Federation’s most outstanding feature for competitiveness. “Their willingness to accommodate and adjust to changing trends in the industry has helped manufacturers set and meet important targets,” he emphasized.