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Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding, says when the present world economic storm has passed there will be no space for inefficiencies and that the country will have to be able to stand on its own feet even before that time comes around.
He noted that despite the present economic challenges, Government has no plans to go back on the commitments and the decisions taken a year ago, when Government and the private sector held its first National Planning Summit in November of 2007.
Mr. Golding was speaking yesterday at the 2008 National Planning Summit convened by the Programme Management Office (PMO) in the Office of the Prime Minister. The summit brought together expert teams of government and private sector planners who made reports on achievements in the areas of job creation, tax reform, debt reduction, investment promotion, education and training, crime and violence, governance and bureaucracy and development approvals.
In his opening address, Prime Minister Golding told the gathering that if at the previous summit there was agreement for significant restructuring, repositioning and recalibration, the need for changing now is even greater. ‘I believe that when this storm has abated the world is not going to look like the one we left in 2008. However, we have to stay with the goals we have set’, Mr. Golding said.
He said there are areas where we are going to have to shift timetables. Some of these he said included the implementation of investment projects. ‘Some of the investments projects that we were assured were on stream and on target, will either have to be put on hold or the pace at which they are proceeding will have to be adjusted as the availability of credit has become a major factor’, Mr. Golding said.
However he noted that there are still reasons for satisfaction as the Spanish investors had only this week advised that they would be proceeding with the construction of 1000 additional rooms and a 700- luxury villa, despite the global downturn.
‘No doubt there will be a slowing down in terms of the pace we had expected investment activity to take place. There are some critical decisions that we have made with regard to the sugar divestment programme and the privatization of Air Jamaica’, Mr. Golding said. He said the negotiation period for the sugar divestment had been extended until the end of January and talks were still proceeding on the Air Jamaica privatisation programme.
Full details of the reports on the achievements of the work being done by the NPS expert teams in driving the implementation of the priority initiatives , will be outlined at a press conference being planned for next week.