Amid the global scare occasioned by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus and with China being the dominant supply market for many local manufacturers, the sector is expressing that there are some challenges to be faced, which they are currently working to solve.
Richard Pandohie, president of Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA) said that while the impact surrounding the virus are of grave concern, the issue that local manufacturers are now encountering is more linked to a shortage of supply.
“The issue facing manufacturers relates to the importation of raw material and equipment from China. Most factories in China had closed for their Lunar New Year and their expected re-opening has been delayed. They have said to our affected members to expect longer lead times and delay,” he stated.
He added that there is however not much panic at this time as manufacturers are now sourcing supplies from different markets.
“We do not expect this impact to be overly detrimental as most manufacturers have alternative suppliers, primarily from the USA. In terms of export, this is minimal, and impact will be negligible,” he said, while also asserting that he hopes for this to be a more short-term arrangement as changing the sourcing from China will result in a higher input price.
Pandohie who is also the chief executive officer (CEO) of the Seprod Group noted that though the change in the arrangement may affect the bottom line for some companies, they understand that it is a part of the risk of doing business, which they also hope to not pass down to their consumers.