Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw, has emphasised that the Government’s commitment to good governance meant that focus must be placed on the relevance of all government institutions and their responsiveness to the needs of the public.
“We are going to have to ask ourselves questions such as: Are we providing the support services that can make a private sector truly vibrant? Do we have institutions that exist merely because they were formed many years ago? Have they lost their useful life? Have they lost their sense of vision? Have they lost their sense of relevance to the economy of the country? I therefore believe that at this time, every institution of government is going to have to justify its existence,” Mr. Shaw said.
He was addressing leaders and other representatives of the Montego Bay business community, at the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) Chairman’s Club Forum, held at the Rose Hall Resort in Montego Bay, St. James, today (October 13).
“We are going to have closures, mergers, and we are going to have institutions subsumed back into Central government and every government worker needs to understand his or her role in good governance and in supporting a private sector that has to be the engine of growth,” the Minister said.
Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw (second right), in the company of (from right), Managing Director of Barnett Limited, Mrs. Paula Kerr-Jarrett; businesswoman, Ms. Pauline Reid and President of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), Mr. Joseph Matalon, during the PSOJ Chairman’s Club Forum, held at the Rose Hall Resort and Spa in Montego Bay, St. James, today (October 13).
Alluding to the necessity of reforms, especially in the area of taxes, Mr. Shaw argued that there was “an unfortunate propensity” for tax evasion and tax avoidance, stressing that these must be brought to an end.
“We must have equity in the taxation system. It cannot be that the pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) people, who are captives, carry the brunt of the burden and those who are able to find the most unique ways of avoiding and evading taxes get away with it free. This is coming to an end. As government, we must have the courage to do the things that are right, whether they are politically popular or not,” the Minister said.
Mr. Shaw said he is resolute that the country will have a fair taxation system, where everybody contributes according to his or her income.
He expressed the hope that once the government has set the framework for good governance, the private sector would respond, so that the country can move towards “producing our way out of our difficulties.”
The Minister also reiterated that Jamaica is close to an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“We (Jamaica) are confident that we will have an agreement and when we have that agreement, it will further open the doors to the other multilateral institutions to continue to lend funds to us at interest rates of one, one and a half, four and five per cent. And in so doing, we will be able, over time, to continue to see a downward trajectory in the overall interest rate profile in our country,” the Minister said.