JIS News

The gradual liberalisation of the Jamaican economy has brought about significant changes that have redounded to the benefit of the Jamaican consumer and entrepreneur.
This, according to Finance and Planning Minister, Dr. Omar Davies. Among the changes that have come as a result of a less stringent economy he said was the elimination of price control in the local marketplace, which previously, had been set by the government.
The Finance Minister’s comments came today (Nov. 23) during his keynote address at the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ)’s 50th Anniversary Conference on Economic and Social Development Planning, which was held at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown. Providing an explanation of what the liberalisation of the economy meant, Dr. Davies said it “clearly implies that where once before a Minister of Finance or a Minister of Industry could facilitate the growth and development of a particular sub-sector by the issuance or non-issuance of licenses by high tariff barriers, the liberalisation of the domestic economy .and elimination of price controls would indicate that many areas of economic management that were within the control of the state has been removed.”
In regard to the future and the issues that the PIOJ will have to contend with in their planning efforts, Dr. Davies posited that the Institute would have to tackle five specific issues: development of a responsive education and training system; greater integration of the small and medium enterprises in the economy; reduction of poverty at both the regional level, and in social groups; increased adherence to environmental standards and regulations, and the reduction in the levels of crime and violence.
Speaking against the background of Jamaica attaining macro economic stability, Minister Davies proposed that in respect to the development of educational system, “increasingly, we must tailor the programmes in the post -secondary levels to meet the demands of not just the labour market in Jamaica or the Caribbean, but the labour market more globally.”
He said that while the government was close to satisfying the demand for all the projected spaces to accommodate children in schools across the island, a challenge that was now facing the government was that schools built in rural areas were not being filled.
In rural communities, Dr. Davies said, “you find many schools built for 200, 300 students only populated with 90, so there is that technical problem that we will have to deal with.”
Turning to the matter of incorporating small and medium enterprises (SME’s) more directly into the economy, he said while large investments such as the US $1.2 billion Alcoa investment, Highway 2000, and the privatisation investments of the country’s airports were collectively critical in building the capital stock of the country, a challenging issue that would warrant examination by the PIOJ was how to go about integrating smaller businesses into these larger investments.

Skip to content