Minister of Finance, Planning and the Public Service, Hon. Dr. Peter Phillips, has underscored the Government’s commitment to urgently address the unwieldy public sector bureaucracy, and is prepared to include performance benchmarks in future agreements with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
He was addressing the Jamaica Stock Exchange’s (JSE) 7th Regional Investments and Capital Markets Conference on January 25, at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston.
In the effort to further fast-track project implementation, the Minister explained that “to get those projects that are being planned into the ground as quickly as we can, we are going to establish, under the leadership of the Prime Minister through the (National) Development Council, mechanisms to pull the roadblocks out the way as quickly as possible."
Bureaucracy has been cited as a major and longstanding constraint to the conduct of profitable business in Jamaica. The Minister identified the high cost of energy and the “cumbersomeness” of the bureaucracy as major impediments to investments, economic growth and sustainable development.
He gave the Government’s undertaking to create a business-friendly environment, including a “general effort to reduce the cumbersomeness of the bureaucracy that too many have to encounter in dealing with simple things like transferring property and getting building and development approvals."
The Finance Minister noted that the process of easing the inordinate delays “is going to be a central feature of the effort of a number (of ministries and) ministers, particularly the Minister of Justice, who has very direct experience of the way in which business activities are stymied and impeded by the cumbersome bureaucracy."
He explained that the overall intention is to establish benchmarks adding that the Government is “prepared to include these benchmarks in any Fund agreement going forward to reduce the scale and level of this bureaucracy and create a more friendly and facilitatory business environment, because we need to have the engine of the private sector revving at full speed."
By Allan Brooks, JIS Senior Reporter