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More local companies urged to invest in research, development

Saturday, December 16, 2017

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr Andrew Wheatley, says more local companies need to invest in research and development (R&D) in order to stimulate economic growth.

He indicated that the work directed towards innovation, introduction and improvement of products and processes is often lacking in some entities.

“We do not invest in R&D. We are about just purchasing and selling. We import and we sell, but this does not contribute to our own economic development,” he noted.

Wheatley was addressing the official opening of Kleen Manufacturing Koncepts Limited at Sydenham Commercial Plaza, Old Harbour Road, St Catherine, on December 14.

Studies have indicated that investing in R&D increases economic growth. The United States (US) spends the most on R&D worldwide, which was estimated at US$465 billion in 2014, followed by China and Japan.

Wheatley said, as a scientist, “I know that it is through innovation that we're not only going to create employment opportunities for our people but have real economic growth”.

“That is what we are about as Government. We want to provide an opportunity for our people to express their inherent innovative capacity,” he pointed out.

He commended Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Kleen Manufacturing Koncepts Limited, Omar Ricketts, for his innovation and growth of the company over its seven years of existence.

The small business, which has been operating from its present location since 2013, produces purified bottled water for distribution entities, retailers, wholesalers and other bottled-water companies across the length and breadth of Jamaica.

The 2,000-square-foot plant, which represents investment of about $10 million, includes water processing stations, office, kitchenette, restroom and a storage area.

Ricketts informed that the company has moved from employing two persons to 12, and will open a new refilling station at Brunswick Avenue, Spanish Town, in the coming year that will employ a further three persons.

He also informed that the company will be introducing two new products – kiwi-flavoured water and lime-flavoured water.

The new location is approximately 50 square feet, and is expected to serve at least 200 customers on a daily basis.

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