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    • Programme Manager of the Planning Institute of Jamaica's (PIOJ) Plan Development Unit, Richard Lumsden, is reporting significant improvements in the four key focus areas pivotal to advancing the country's National Development Plan - Vision 2030.
    • He cited the areas as: empowering persons to achieve their full potential; making the society secure, cohesive and just; making the Jamaican economy prosperous; and making the natural environment healthy.
    • Mr. Lumsden was speaking at the PIOJ's quarterly press briefing, at the PIOJ's offices, in Kingston, last week, during which he presented the first quarterly indicator results of the four areas.

    Programme Manager of the Planning Institute of Jamaica’s (PIOJ) Plan Development Unit, Richard Lumsden, is reporting significant improvements in the four key focus areas pivotal to advancing the country’s National Development Plan – Vision 2030.

    He cited the areas as: empowering persons to achieve their full potential; making the society secure, cohesive and just; making the Jamaican economy prosperous; and making the natural environment healthy.

    Mr. Lumsden was speaking at the PIOJ’s quarterly press briefing, at the PIOJ’s offices, in Kingston, last week, during which he presented the first quarterly indicator results of the four areas.

    Vision 2030, which is being spearheaded by PIOJ, seeks to position Jamaica to achieve developed country status, based on a comprehensive vision of the country being the place of choice to live, work, raise families, and do business.

    In his presentation, Mr. Lumsden reported improvements, over a five to 10-week period, in the main areas of health, education and labour force quality, under the first goal focusing on empowering persons.

    Informing that life expectancy is the key indicator used to measure the health status, Mr. Lumsden said this area saw an increase from an average 71.3 years between 1989 and 1991 to 72.7 years between 2006 and 2008, with a target of 76.4 years by2014. This, he pointed out, reflected an increase of about two years per decade, “which is what we consider achievable.”

    In the area of education, Mr. Lumsden said this was guided by three key indicators – adult literacy, tertiary enrolment, and the results of the Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate (CSEC) examination.

    He pointed out that the country’s adult literacy rate increased from 75.4 per cent in 1995 to 86.8 per cent in 2009, and the goal is to increase the figure to no less than 98 per cent of the population by 2030.

    “Gross enrolment at the tertiary level also increased from 9.5 per cent in 1995, to 30.8 per cent in 2009. We are targeting a band of between 60 to 70 per cent by 2030, which would place us on a benchmark with developed countries,” the Programme Manager pointed out.

    In the CSEC, he informed that the percentage of students securing five or more subjects, more than doubled between 1998 and 2009, moving from 15.9 per cent to 35.9 per cent, respectively. The target, he added, is to increase the indicators to between 60 and 80 per cent by 2030.

    For the labour force quality category, Mr. Lumsden explained that vocational and professional certification as a percentage of the total workforce, were used to measure indicators in this area.
    “We have seen an increase in that indicator from 9.4 per cent in 1995 to 20.1 per cent in 2009, with an ambitious target to move that to 90 per cent by 2030,” he outlined.

    Regarding the second goal of establishing a secure, cohesive and just society, Mr. Lumsden informed that security and justice were the two indicators measured. In the area of security, he reported a decline in the major crime rate per 100,000 of the population. He pointed to the decrease in incidents of murder, shooting, rape, carnal abuse, robbery, larceny, and break-ins, from 616 per 100,000 persons in 1995 to 438 in 2009, with a target for a further decline to 43 per 100,000 by 2030.

    “The murder rate has increased over the same period, from 31 per 100,000 in 1995 to 62 in 2009. We have a target to drop that rate to 10 per 100,000, by 2030, which is benchmarked just above the global average,” he said.

    Under the justice status, Mr. Lumsden advised that the case clearance rate in the Resident Magistrates’ (RM) courts, “which is where the majority of Jamaicans would encounter the justice system,” was the indicator measured. The case clearance rate is determined by the number of cases disposed of in a year divided by the number of new cases filed, within that period, in the RM courts.

    “In 1995, that percentage was 97.8 per cent, and it has fallen to 80.1 per cent in 2009. Now the importance of this indicator is, if you are below 100 per cent, then clearly, you are building up a backlog of cases. We desire to move that indicator to 100 per cent by 2030,” he noted.

    Economic growth and the employment rate were the key indicators measured under the third goal of economic prosperity, Mr. Lumsden said. The real rate of the gross domestic product (GDP), he explained, was the pivotal indicator measured under economic growth.

    “In 1995, the average was a 2.2 per cent annual growth rate in real GDP, and that, in 2009, would have fallen to -0.8 per cent. Our target by 2030 is five per cent. GDP, per capita, has increased over that same period, from US$2,346 per person in 1995, to US$4,832 per person by 2009. Using the projected growth rates, the target would be to be in the region of US$23,000 by 2030, which would put us within the range of developed countries, today,” the Programme Manager informed.

    Under the employment category, Mr. Lumsden disclosed that total unemployment has “fallen significantly” over the period, from 16 per cent in 1995 to 10.6 per cent in 2009, with the target being to move to an unemployment rate of between four and five per cent by 2030.

    Regarding the final goal of attaining a healthy natural environment, Mr. Lumsden pointed out that a composite environmental performance index was used to measure 10 indicators related to eco-system vitality, environmental health, and environmental burden of disease.

    Noting that this data only became available in 2006, Mr. Lumsden said a 74.7 per cent attainment was recorded in this area in that year. This, he pointed out, fell to 58 per cent in 2009, which saw Jamaica being ranked 89th of 163 countries.

    “Our aim is to move this indicator to a score of 85, which would move us in the top tier of countries in the world. Costa Rica is in that range, currently, and this is our target,” the Programme Director said.

    Mr. Lumsden explained that the data outline the framework which the PIOJ believes “presents the holistic measure of national development” in all key focus areas. He pointed out that over subsequent quarters, the agency will endeavour to report on selected areas, based on the availability and the relevance of the data.

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