Minister of Industry, Small Business and Rural Development, Denis Kellman (centre), chatting with President of the Barbados Manaufacturers’ Association, Ian Pickup (left) and Managing Director of Roberts Manufacturing, David Foster??at the launch of BMEX 2012. (A. Miller/BGIS)??

A government Minister has affirmed that despite a significant decline in this island’s manufacturing sector, opportunities still exist to recreate and recapture the local market.

This assertion has come from Minister of Industry, Small Business and Rural Development, Denis Kellman, during his address at the launch of BMEX 2012, which was held at the new Banks Holdings factory at Newton, Christ Church, last evening.

Alluding to the decrease in the sector’s contribution to GDP from approximately 12 per cent in the 1980s to four per cent in recent times, Minister Kellman let it be known that there was "great potential" within the local manufacturing sector.

"Clear evidence of this was observed during the several tours I had the privilege of making to manufacturing plants across the island.?? Let me say categorically that we are not only ready to take over the local market, but based on the quality of the products I saw, these companies are ready to make their presence felt in the international market," the Industry Minister stressed.

Highlighting the significant contribution which manufacturing has made to our national development and economic growth, the Minister added that "with the guidance of the BMA, the various initiatives and interventions of Government, coupled with the resilience of the manufacturers themselves, [the manufacturing sector] has provided employment for countless Barbadians and has generated valuable foreign exchange which has enabled our economy to ???hold its own’ during tough and changing times."

Minister Kellman also lauded the Barbados Manufacturers Association for "championing the cause of our local manufacturing sector", through initiatives such as BMEX.

"The fact that we are gathered this evening to launch the 30th staging of BMEX is no small achievement…I have noted with keen interest the metamorphosis of the BMEX expo over the years.?? I have seen it transition from being just a national exposition to an international trade fair.??

"Worthy of note is the fact that what is currently taking place at BMEX, gives us a glimpse of what could be, as we move to strengthen economic integration and strive to make the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) a reality.?? It also inspires the confidence needed to venture into the international arena," he stated.

This year, BMEX will take place at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Two Mile Hill, St. Michael, from Friday, May 25 to Monday, May 28.


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