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  • The Government remains committed to creating the environment that will accommodate private sector input in helping to secure sustained economic growth for Jamaica.
  • This, Minister Kellier argues, will contribute to raising private sector confidence, resulting in more investments by stakeholders.
  • He said there is now every indication that the growth agenda being pursued by the government is resulting in incrementally critical economic recovery.

Labour and Social Security Minister, Hon. Derrick Kellier, says the Government remains committed to creating the environment that will accommodate private sector input in helping to secure sustained economic growth for Jamaica.

This, he argues, will contribute to raising private sector confidence, resulting in more investments by stakeholders, as well as their engagement in research and development, and innovations, which he says will yield “much needed jobs, economic development and, indeed, productivity enhancement.”

The Minister made these comments while delivering the keynote address at Tuesday’s (April 29) opening ceremony for Make Your Mark Consultants’ fifth annual two-day Middle Managers Seminar at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston, being held under the theme: ‘Middle Managers: The Heart and Hub of Enterprise’.

Arguing that economic growth is a “major objective’ for the government, Mr. Kellier said the administration’s “well-considered view” is that it has a responsibility to provide the “most favourable enabling environment” that will ensure private sector involvement, adding that “we are having some success in this regard.”

He said there is now every indication that the growth agenda being pursued by the government is resulting in incrementally critical economic recovery, which is sustainable and “real”.

“Secondly, the debt, as measured by the debt to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio, is now moving on a downward trajectory and is expected to be about five to seven per cent less for the fiscal year 2013/14. These are positive signs that the economy… is finally improving,” he stated.

Most noteworthy, the Minister pointed out, is the view by local and external stakeholders that “this new and positive economic reality in the country” has resulted from greater levels of confidence in the performance of the economy by the private sector.

“We believe, therefore, that, as a government, we are, indeed, stepping in the right direction”, he added.

While acknowledging that much work remains to be done to attain the “desired levels of economic growth”, Mr. Kellier contended that “we can, in fact, create good quality jobs in this country, and that our private sector has the capacity to increase local investment, innovate, and increase the levels of export.”

“This is why we will not flinch from supporting our private sector entities that utilize the opportunities presented to achieving success,” he added.

Against this background, Mr. Kellier said the Government, through the Labour Ministry, is committed to pursuing the introduction of flexible work arrangements, “given the many positive benefits for growth and increased productivity that this can have on our economy.”

He said that while the economy is showing growth, “the war on our chronic state of under-development is far from over. Hence, to grow substantially, as a country (there is an urgent need) for productivity to rise”.

In this regard, Mr. Kellier also advised that the Ministry, through the Jamaica Productivity Centre, (JPC), is currently spearheading a “productivity revolution” across Jamaica.

Minister Kellier asserted that when productivity levels of companies increase, workers benefit through higher wages, output for the company increases, there are improvements in the profit levels to shareholders, and greater wealth and prosperity is shared by all.
“I invite those private sector entities that have not done so yet (to) come on board as early as possible.  It promises to be a win-win situation for the government, for employers, and for all workers,” he assured.

In her remarks, Make Your Mark Consultants Chief Executive Officer, Jacqueline Coke-Lloyd, commended the Ministry’s “proactive thrust” in sensitising the public on its work, through the JPC, as well as about what is required of the country’s workforce and leaders.

In noting that Jamaica’s current productivity levels are far from what the country recorded in earlier years, Mrs. Coke-Lloyd contended that changes must be effected to address  contributing factors such as inefficiencies, poor attitudes, complacency, and “comfort with mediocrity”, in order to achieve growth.

“We need to move…to a culture of hard, smart, and value-added work, and healthy values becoming a hallmark,” she underscored.

The two-day Middle Managers’ Conference is focusing on the personal and professional development of the over 30 participants.

Topics and issues being covered include: leadership; human resource development; entrepreneurship; health and wellness, productivity improvement; and business development.  Approximately 17 speakers from the Caribbean, and North America, are slated to make presentations.

Make Your Mark Consultants provides world-class business and youth development services locally, regionally, and internationally.

This is done through value-added interventions, and systematic changes in areas identified as important, which will facilitate growth, development, and the competitiveness of private, public, international bodies, and persons.