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Financial Secretary, Dr. Wesley Hughes, has underscored the need for citizens to pay their taxes and for these resources to be prudently managed, in ensuring attainment of the goals and provisions of the country’s National Development Plan, Vision 2030 Jamaica.

The fulfillment of statutory obligations by the citizenry, he argued, as well as fiscal prudence at the administrative level, will ensure that the requisite social services can be effectively delivered, and also build the country’s resilience to internal and external shocks.

Dr. Hughes was speaking at the opening of the two-day Vision 2030 Country Assessment and National Prioritization workshop on April 11, at the Knutsford Court Hotel, New Kingston.

He noted that in developing the country’s first long-term development plan, there was recognition that consequent on global economic developments and constraints, the requisite level of resources to deliver the provisions may not be forthcoming, particularly from international development donor partners.

He lamented that even with this knowledge, there is a seeming unwillingness on the part of some stakeholders to fulfill their statutory obligations, stressing that “we cannot expand social services if we do not have the revenues”. 

“Collecting revenue must be (done) to achieve certain goals by providing services that the public wants us to provide, (such as) health, education, building infrastructure, (and) building up the resilience of our systems. These are all worthy, important objectives, but they cost money, and to the extent that (our partners may be unable) to fund our expenditures…,in the future, we have to pay for this (ourselves), and we pay for this through our taxes,” he asserted.

But complementary to this, Dr. Hughes posited, is a duty and responsibility by those in charge of administering expenditures, to do so ‘wisely, prudently and without corruption”, in order that the country gets the “best value for our…taxes”.

More than 150 stakeholders from the public and private sectors, civil society, academia and the international development community are participating in the two-day country assessment and national prioritization workshop organised and hosted by the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and Planning, and the Office of the Cabinet.

The workshop, being held under the theme: ‘Towards the Preparation of the New Medium Term Socio-Economic Policy Framework (MTF) 2012-2015,’ forms part of the process by the PIOJ to prepare the Plan’s second Medium Term Socio-Economic Policy Framework (MTF), for the 2012 to 2015 period. The initial MTF, which commenced in 2009, ended in March.  

The MTF is the main mechanism for translating Vision 2030 Jamaica’s long-term national goals and outcomes, into action.

The National Development Plan provides a comprehensive planning framework in which the economic, social, environmental and governance aspects of national development are integrated. The plan is expected to position Jamaica to achieve developed country status, by 2030, thereby making it the place of choice to live, work, raise families, and do business.

 

By Douglas McIntosh, JIS Reporter