The National Competitiveness Council has brought together the relevant groups from the public and private sectors to brainstorm ways to reduce bureaucracy in government and enhance the local business environment.
At an extraordinary meeting, held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, on (October 6), Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Karl Samuda said while there has been some reduction in the level of bureaucracy in the system in recent years, it is still not enough.
Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Karl Samuda, outlines the parameters of a special meeting of the National Competitiveness Council, held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, on (October 6), where suggestions for enhancing the country’s business environment were discussed.
“We can no longer continue, as a country, to be satisfied with the level of grading that we receive internationally when surveys are done on how prepared we are to compete in the world or how ready we are to deal with business, and particularly in the area of paying taxes, where we rate almost at the bottom of the list of the countries that are surveyed,” he said.
The Minister pointed out that high levels of bureaucracy “stifle initiative and growth and discourage our business community from expanding and being entrepreneurs.” He added that because the bureaucracy negatively impacts ease of doing business, it is also increasing the country’s trade deficit while lowering its competitive advantage.
The meeting brought government agencies, such as the Tax Administration Department, JAMPRO, the National Environment and Planning Agency and Jamaica Productivity Centre, together with private sector groups, such as the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, the Jamaica Exporters’ Association, the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica and the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association.
Mr. Samuda explained that they were brought together to hammer out short to medium term solutions for reversing the trend of high bureaucracy.
Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Karl Samuda (left), receives approval from Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Reginald Budhan (centre), and president of JAMPRO, Sancia Bennett-Templer, after making his presentation at a special meeting of the National Competitiveness Council, held at The Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, on (October 6).
Meanwhile, the Minister expressed concern at suggestions that the public sector should be run as a business, operating on the same principles as entities in the private sector. He explained that the private and public sectors are distinct in character and in the execution of objectives.
“The public sector is the sector that safeguards the interest of the Jamaican people. They operate on certain guidelines that must never be compromised,” he insisted.
He said even though the procedures followed by the public sector may impact on the pace at which decisions are taken, care must still be taken to ensure that the interest of all Jamaicans is safeguarded. The area in which he suggests improvements can be made, is in the pace at which decisions are implemented.