Wednesday 23 September, 2020

Pandohie implores manufacturers to help improve standard of living

President of the Jamaica Manufacturing and Exporters Association, Richard Pandohie.

President of the Jamaica Manufacturing and Exporters Association, Richard Pandohie.

President of the Jamaica Manufacturing and Exporters Association (JMEA) Richard Pandohie has made an impassionate plea to manufacturers, to help lift the island’s middle class to an acceptable level.

Addressing the JMEA's annual general meeting last Thursday, Pandohie said the gap between the middle class and Jamaicans living on survival mode is too wide. 

He is imploring manufacturers to help to fix the problem.

“At the core of the JMEA philosophy is creating a better Jamaica for our people. Striking the right balance between businesses and social objectives. While we will continue to strive and defend our membership interest, more and more we will have to take a stronger position on matters of national interest that will drive, equitable and inclusive good for our people,” Pandohie said.

“It is not a good feeling to watch after the first month of a pandemic, so many people had to depend on care packages to survive. It is an indictment against our country that over 50 per cent of our people are in the informal sector, barely earning above minimum salary.”

Pandohie reckons that the manufacturing sector, the agro-processing sectors should help rebuild the middle class of Jamaica.

According to Pandohie, the island’s middle class consists of only 13 per cent of the population.  He reasons that an acceptable level is at least 35 per cent, with the ideal rate being 50 per cent.

Pandohie said 78 per cent of Jamaicans are in the lower class, resulting in social inequity that creates blowback for the economy and prevents economic growth.

“My major objective is to get the government and the policymakers to come on board and to be aligned. The productive sector has to be a key part in the growth recovery and it has to be driven through productivity, export and innovation,” Pandohie said.  

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