The Chinese manufacturing company, Jndeli, has committed to building a factory in the Bahamas, Minister of Financial Services and Investments Allyson Maynard Gibson revealed Thursday.
Jndeli, which manufactures luxurious Swarovski silver and crystal products already sold in the Bahamas, intends to create jobs for a significant number of Bahamians, according to the Minister, who spoke to the Journal from Shanghai.
She said the economic benefits to be derived will be tremendous.
“If we just think about the almost five million tourists we are going to have this year, if each of them spends just $20 or more, that’s $100 million more pumped into our economy,” she said.
“So imagine that impact on the economy, in terms of jobs. Obviously setting up a factory is going to mean jobs.”
Government officials expect that the presence of Jndeli in The Bahamas will fuel widespread entrepreneurship as well.
“You’re talking about serious, serious entrepreneurship,” Minister Gibson said.
She added, “When you’re talking about souvenir production, you’re not just talking about persons creating and copyrighting their products, buy you’re talking also about people having to work to assemble them, making them.”
Prime Minister Perry Christie, who is on a state visit to China, has long talked about the need for there to be stronger linkages between tourism and manufacturing. Mr. Christie has said that it cannot be acceptable for most of the dollars earned on tourism to leave the country to pay for imports.
It’s precisely the reason why government officials in China are elated that they have been able to lock down such deals like the one with Jndeli.
Minister Gibson termed it an “incredible success.”
Company officials, who have visited The Bahamas in the past, are expected to return in October to locate a site for their factory. There has been no indication of which island they are likely to target, the Minister said.
She said the Chinese have also committed to sending master carvers to The Bahamas to pass on their technical know-how and have also agreed to send persons to The Bahamas to help train Bahamians in packaging fruit, vegetables and seafood.
“So we are moving toward the goals that the prime minister has set for us which is to enhance our souvenir industry, to tap into the significant tourism market that we already have and also in finding ways to do what Jamaica does and that is to maintain as much of the dollar as possible and re-invest it into our economy,” Minister Gibson said.
“This souvenir thing is very exciting,” she pointed out, adding that executives of Jndeli are all set to go. “We’re looking at really unleashing the creativity of our souvenir producers.”