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Prime Minister, Hon. Bruce Golding has explained that what the 2010/11 budget seeks to do is to create the conditions that will facilitate investment and growth, and not to finance investment and growth.
He noted that the conditions include proper fiscal management, reduced deficit, lower interest rates, less borrowing, confidence-building transparency and accountability.
“We recognise that improving our fiscal dynamics is a necessary, but not sufficient precondition for generating growth,” Mr. Golding said, during his contribution to the 2010/11 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives, today (April 20).
The Prime Minister stated that the Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw, has already appealed to the banks to demonstrate their commitment to the recovery programme by matching the reduced interest on Government paper with a commensurate reduction in interest rates charged on loans.
“We know they can’t do it all at once; they have contractual deposit arrangements that will take time to expire. But just as they responded so magnificently to the Jamaica Debt Exchange, we urge them to be as aggressive as they can in reducing lending rates and reinforcing the signal that the change has begun and it is time to rev up investment,” Mr. Golding said.
He further stated that the transformation of the economy cannot be confined to the fiscal side, but there needs to be a mindset change.
“We must return to the day when bankers and investment managers will spend most of their working day with their clients going through the numbers, drilling down to the feasibility, stress-testing the projections, reviewing the marketing programme, making sure the production costs are accurate. Only then will we see investment and job creation spurt and grow. That is the way we must go,” Mr. Golding stressed.
In addition, the Prime Minister informed that the Government will be accelerating the reform programme to reduce bureaucracy, improve efficiency, so as to make doing business simpler and friendlier.
“There are still challenges to contend with, but we must complain less and do more. Spanish investors came here, saw opportunities and invested heavily in Jamaica. Chinese investors are coming here, seeing other opportunities and investing heavily in Jamaica. They face the same challenges and inconveniences, but that has not deterred them. They see in us what many of us have difficulty seeing in ourselves. I say to the many who sit and wait and complain and wait: Ask not what the Government can do for you. Determine, instead, what you are prepared to do for yourselves and the Government will do all it can to clear a path for you,” Mr. Golding said.