Jamaican manufacturers and exporters say they have seen their profits drop at least 20% over the past month, due to “no move” days, according to information released by the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association, which urges the government to re-evaluate its use of this COVID-19 prevention strategy.
Business owners of varying sizes across the island have individually pleaded with the government to rethink its infection control strategy over the past few days, but this is the first time that JMEA, which has spoken on behalf of the community manufacturer and exporter of Jamaica, expressed her perspective on the impact of the policy of immobility on business.
The periods of stillness spanned three days: Sunday through Tuesday.
JMEA’s request for the government to reassess the lockdown strategy comes on the eve of the expiration of some of the current COVID-19 containment measures and was supported by an investigation the association carried out at the end of the month. of August, which found that 83 percent of members experienced a drop in income for the month, due to the days without movement.
The survey also found that 80 percent of members experienced a decline in productivity and 40 percent saw their supply chain severely hampered during the days of no movement. About 17% do not know how the days of no movement will impact their income.
A sharp rise in coronavirus infections, hospitalizations and deaths in August led the Jamaican government to implement tougher measures that included four consecutive three-day shutdown weekends, longer curfew hours and businesses closing earlier. The measures expire today, September 14, unless there is an extension.
Some of the challenges faced by trade operators across the island range from reduced production, difficulty serving customers on non-movement days, cancellation or rescheduling of orders / commitments to customers.
“We didn’t want to make a specific recommendation on what they should do, because there are so many different ways to approach the problem, but what we want to make them understand is that it can’t continue.” said JMEA President John Mahfood told the Financial Gleaner.
In its press release, JMEA said it was clear from the investigation that the last four weeks of lockdowns are having a negative impact on manufacturers and exporters, especially micro and small businesses. JMEA added that while it understands that the government is in a precarious position as it tries to strike a balance between protecting lives and saving the economy, it is time to reassess the current situation by view to reduce blockages.
“We would like to see a significant change, either that the offices reopen Monday and Tuesday or that the government consider changing the half-day work on Friday, which in our opinion is counterproductive as it causes traffic jams “said Mahfood.
In recent weeks, the business community has also called on banking institutions and Jamaican tax administration offices to open to the public all day Saturday.