KINGSTON — “Many of the top business persons that I have spoken to, now tell me that the environment for doing business in Jamaica has never been better,” Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Dr. Gladstone Hutchinson, told a Public Sector Monitoring Committee (PSMC) seminar on Tuesday September 6.
"They say this is the best macro-economic environment they have had to do business in. So now, I challenge them to go and do business," Dr. Hutchinson told participants in the two-day seminar at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston,
He asked institutions which participated in last year's Jamaica Debt Exchange (JDX) initiative, to seize on the resulting opportunities for new investments, consequent on lower interest rates and the “incredible business environment” existing.
The Government’s $700 million JDX offer initiative, undertaken in January 2010, involved the voluntary exchange of bonds, excluding Treasury Bills issued by the administration in the domestic market, for new bonds of the same principal value, but with lower interest costs and longer maturities.
The PIOJ Head contended that financial institutions and entities, as well as persons participating in the initiative, who “made important sacrifices” and ‘lost lots of money", should be "recognized and acknowledged".
“But, they must now be asked to go one step further, and recognise that the Government’s trough is empty. No more waivers and fiscal incentives are sitting at the bottom of the trough for them to go drinking at. They must now start seizing the opportunities for new investments and entrepreneurism, from the lower interest rates and the incredible business environment that exists,’ he asserted.
Dr. Hutchinson also stressed that the Government’s must “appreciate the burden of the short-term sacrifice” which the nation has been asked to bear, consequent on the initiative’s implementation, and make every effort to create an environment for private sector-led modernization, growth and broad-based economic development.
“This means that every government and public sector worker must go about their task with vigour and commitment to excellence, as if their company’s life and paychecks depended on it,” he said.
He added that the Government must also signal its intention to do good, by strengthening its capacity to produce public sector goods to complement private sector business entrepreneurism and development.
He said this requires the vision of a “transformed and cohesive” public sector that is performance-based, efficient, cost-effective and service-oriented.
“This is the social compact that must underpin the credibility and sustainability of government’s social and economic policies, as outlined in Vision 2030. It is the social compact that we must achieve. Jamaica deserves nothing less,” he asserted.
The two-day seminar, which is being held under the theme, “A Partnership Approach to True Solutions”, is among efforts by the government and trade unions representing public sector workers to arrive at a consensus on an approach to setting the parameters for public sector wages and conditions of employment.
By Douglas Mcintosh, JIS Reporter