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Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. Omar Davies, has said that focus must be placed on giving the cohort of young men, who have the potential to do “serious damage” to the growth of the economy, a second chance to become productive members of the society.
“There is a cohort of young men, who for whatever reason, have missed either their first opportunity or have never had that opportunity and that cohort has the potential to do serious damage to all the positives that could occur in the economy over the medium term and therefore, a focus has to be given to providing that cohort with a second chance,” he stated.
Dr. Davies was addressing the Jamaica Money Market Brokers (JMMB) sponsored discussion forum ‘Economix 2005’, held this morning (May 11) at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston, where he spoke on the topic Economic gains the various socio economic issues that had to be addressed.
Referring to the demand for labour that would occur as a result of the expansion expected in the tourism sector over the next five years and beyond, the Finance Minister said, “we are going to have an interesting situation whereby with all the expansion in construction, you will have a simultaneous problem where there are high levels of unemployment in that cohort and at the same time, you have a shortage of labour whereby the construction projects will have to import labour”.
Dr. Davies told the gathering of financial interests, that part of government’s medium term plan for education and training, must take cognizance of the need to address the special needs of that cohort.
“We need to look at the education and training system to ensure that we are producing from that education system, persons who can add value to the labour market,” he said, noting that while certification was important, the essential issue was what persons could actually do in terms of their contribution to the labour market. “This period provides us with the opportunity to start focusing on those issues, which are necessary compliments to expansion in the economy,” he pointed out.
Dr. Davies noted that, “although we have not solved in perpetuity the macro economic issues, having addressed the major ones, government and the country as a whole should now look at some of the social issues that need attention”.
“I am convinced that those issues are going to be the critical ones.even as we hold all the gains in terms of the macro economy, we need to start looking at the broader picture in terms of what are the steps we need to take in terms of addressing some of the pressing social problems, which could haunt us and could delay and derail our macro economic improvement,” Minister Davies further stated.
EconoMix 2005 provided an outlook on the Jamaican, Trinidadian and international capital markets and the equities market of Jamaica and Trinidad, in addition to providing post budget analysis and examining emerging markets.