The Government has commenced work to review and revise the requisite strategic actions for implementing the country’s long-term National Development Plan – Vision 2030 Jamaica – in light of the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The Plan aims to positon Jamaica to achieve developed country status, and in the process, make it the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business.
Speaking at a digital quarterly media briefing on May 27, Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Dr. Wayne Henry, said the revamping exercise includes revisiting the targets up to 2030 and the period/schedule for achieving the planned outcomes and national development goals.
“This process has commenced with Government-led strategic actions and plans from various sectors, including programme revisions and reviews, in an effort to adapt to the challenges, shocks and risks presented by the global pandemic,” he indicated.
Noting that the Government is not yet in a position to present revised long-term development targets, Dr. Henry said that from the PIOJ’s preliminary review of the development targets, it is anticipated that based on projections for the Jamaican and wider global society and economy, “there will be slippages in several indicators”.
These, he noted, include real gross domestic product (GDP) annual growth rate and nominal GDP per capita, and the unemployment rate and poverty prevalence rates.
Dr. Henry pointed out that prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the country, in pursuit of Vision 2030 Jamaica, had entrenched macroeconomic stability as evidenced by low unemployment and inflation rates, a declining debt-to-GDP ratio, and seven consecutive years of economic growth
“Jamaica has [also] been strengthening its capacity for disease surveillance, mitigation, risk reduction and the responsiveness of the health system in advancing the achievement of a healthy and stable population, which has served as a key tenet of Jamaica’s public health response to COVID-19. However, COVID-19 has demonstrated how quickly a path of growth can be challenged,” he added.
Vision 2030 Jamaica Programme Director, Peisha Bryan, indicated that some of the focus areas are on track, and cited others where “we have almost reached the targets”.
“In one area, we have actually surpassed the 2030 target… and we are already looking at strategic adjustments to respond to that. So, there are areas in which we will be able, based on what we are seeing now… and the situation could change… to still stay on track. But, of course, we still have to do strategic adjustments, even in those areas,” she told journalists.
The Programme Director acknowledged, however, that there are areas where the country was already struggling to meet the targets, which “we were already looking at whether or not we would have to revise those targets”.
“For this [2020/21] fiscal year, we had planned… that we were going to review those 2030 targets to see which targets, realistically, could be achieved in 2030 and, if not, when they would be achieved,” she added.
Ms. Bryan emphasised that missing individual targets does and will not deter the advancement of Jamaica’s development.
“Maybe [it is that] we don’t get all the tenets of developed country status… but we can get to some significant milestones that take us there. So, the strategic framework will have to be adjusted and targets will have to be reviewed and timelines changed accordingly,” she added.
Ms. Bryan said the general consensus at the PIOJ is that while the Plan and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals have a 2030 timeline, “we have begun the conversation beyond 2030, because Jamaica’s development does not end there”.
Meanwhile, Dr. Henry is optimistic that the country’s capacity to identify the necessary strategic adjustments under Vision 2030 Jamaica will improve as more data, statistics and information become available from research and consultations within partnership frameworks.
These, he said, include the multi-stakeholder committees established by the Government to inform the programme of economic recovery.
“Jamaica’s national development planning framework is geared towards the achievement of our national goals and the global goals to which we have committed, and forms the framework for our participation in global agreements and forums on development. Jamaica remains committed to pursuing the long-term goals, articulated in Vision 2030 Jamaica – National Development Plan,” Dr. Henry said.
The PIOJ houses the Vision 2030 Jamaica Secretariat.