Manufacturers slam 'inaccuracy' on sector

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporter

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

Manufacturers have challenged recent statements by The Bahamas' chief World Trade Organisation's negotiator, arguing that "worrisome" inaccuracies undermine the sector's significance.

The Bahamas Light Industries Development Council (BLIDC), responding to statements made by Raymond Winder on a radio programme, said: "Mr Winder indicated that the light industries/manufacturing sector is comprised of only 12 to 20 companies. There are currently no less than 50 companies engaged in production in the Bahamas, and this number is not exhaustive."

The BLIDC added: "The chief negotiator also advanced that the prospect of employment growth for the sector was unlikely. This is also misleading. According to the Department of Statistics May 2017 Labour Force Report, manufacturing employs 4,365 persons, while agriculture, hunting, forestry and fishing employ a further 935, bringing the total to 5,300 individuals. In fact, some of our members single handedly employ in excess of 200 persons.

"While Mr. Winder did acknowledge the Government would seek to protect these businesses, it is worrisome when statements are made which, in their inaccuracy, undermine the significance of the sector."

The BLIDC said it was encouraging all policymakers, as well as interested persons, to visit the BLIDC's website, www.blidc.org which lists all of its members, as well the products made in the Bahamas. The growing list includes plastic cups, bottled water, bread, resort wear, mattresses bleach, windows, beer and cigars.