Basseterre, St. Kitts (CUOPM) – The official launch of a new and well-documented National Manufacturing Strategy is an opportune time to reflect the Federation’s manufacturing journey embarked upon over the years.
Chairman of the Manufacturing Division of the St. Kitts and Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Mr. Linkon Maynard said it is critically important to evaluate the timing of the launch and implementation of the Strategy which is an imperative step in the further development of a balanced economy.
“While in 2014 we can boast of the highest exports of manufactured goods to the United States market of all the other OECS Countries combined, it behoves us to seriously reflect on how we can use the solid foundation that has been laid to move to the next level of manufacturing such that it becomes a truly integral part of the our economic and social development,” said Maynard at the launching ceremony.
He said the main objective of the National Manufacturing Strategy, is to have in St. Kitts and Nevis a sustainable profitable manufacturing that is internationally competitive.
The Strategy Document identifies the critical prescriptive road that is needed to ensure that the manufacturing sector go from strength to strength.
“The document clearly outlines the critical areas identified in a ‘Manufacturing Needs Assessment Study’ conducted in St. Kitts and Nevis. These major needs identified include Fiscal constraints; High Energy costs; Raw Material Procurement Challenges; Human Resource and Training needs; Government/Manufacturing Sector Interface; Agri-processing challenges; and Financing,” said Mr. Maynard.
He noted that the Executive Summary of the Strategy Document speaks to the identification of six over-arching goals that would fulfill the National Manufacturing Strategy over the period 2014 -2020.
He identified that goals as follows: (1) – To realize growth in the manufacturing sector’s contribution to GDP by 2.5% by 2020, taking us to a contribution of over 10% of GDP; (2) – To create 150 new jobs in manufacturing by 2015 and 500 additional jobs by 2020; (3) – To improve the depth of quality manufacturing and value-added; (4) – To increase global manufacturing competitiveness of St. Kitts and Nevis; (6) – To steadily attract, encourage and facilitate environmentally sustainable manufacturing to St. Kitts and Nevis; and (6) – To promote best practices and cutting edge manufacturing industry standards.
Mr. Maynard also listed ten priority areas or pillars that would lead to the development and realization of these six over-arching goals set by the Strategy.
He identified the ten priority areas as follows: (1) – Business Environment facilitation; (2) – Technology & Foreign Direct Investment; (3) – Natural Resources; (4) – Clustering & Supply Chain Management; (5) – Energy ; (6); Human Resource Development; (7) – Occupational Safety & Health; (8) – Export Processing Zones; (9) Micro, Small & Medium-sized Enterprise Sector Growth; and (10) – Enhancing Exports.
“Because the NMS is a living and dynamic and action oriented prescription, a detailed plan is presented in the Strategy so that all concerned including Government and Stakeholders are guided with respect to the implementation deadlines of the Strategy,” said Mr. Maynard, Plant Manager at Carib Breweries (St. Kitts and Nevis) Ltd.
He further stated that the implementation plan will include the setting up of a National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council (NMCC) that will serve to monitor and evaluate results, and assign areas of responsibility for key Stakeholders.
“As far as the Manufacturing Council is concerned, even though we are elated by the launch event, we hasten to remind all concerned that the implementation strategy that we apply to this policy will determine the level of success that we achieve,” said Mr. Maynard, who reminded invited guests that at the recent Manufacturing Awareness Week Awards Dinner, the Council in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade and Industry looked forward to a rigorous effort with respect to the implementation of the National Manufacturing Strategy.
He disclosed that following the last Council meeting held in the last week of October, the Council would like to make two specific recommendations that will go a long way in assuring a high level of success for the implementation of the National Strategy.
“The Council strongly recommends that for proper and continuous interface with the Ministry, the Ministry provides a dedicated officer and desk at the Ministry of Trade and Industry to work continuously with us in the trenches to ensure a successful implementation and that a high level official of the Ministry of Trade and Industry to be an ex-officio member of the Manufacturing Council since a large percentage of the discussion held at this level requires intimate attention from the Ministry,” said Mr. Maynard.