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Story Highlights

  • Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller is praising the Partnership for Jamaica National Council as being an initiative that is working in the best interest of achieving economic growth and national development in Jamaica.
  • The Prime Minister, who chairs the Partnership Council, is also pointing to early gains from the Economic Reform Programme being pursued by the Government.
  • The Partnership for Jamaica involves Cabinet Ministers and representatives of the private sector, trade unions and civil society.

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller is praising the Partnership for Jamaica National Council as being an initiative that is working in the best interest of achieving economic growth and national development in Jamaica. The Prime Minister, who chairs the Partnership Council, is also pointing to early gains from the Economic Reform Programme being pursued by the Government. The Partnership for Jamaica involves Cabinet Ministers and representatives of the private sector, trade unions and civil society – which includes representatives from the church, women’s organisations, human rights groups, the environment sector and the youth.

 

“Our Partnership is clearly on the right path. We must not be reluctant to be self-critical and to learn from the experience of others. When we stop learning, we stop growing,” Mrs. Simpson Miller said as she addressed members of the Council during a Partnership for Jamaica National Council Retreat at the Terra Nova Hotel in St. Andrew on Thursday, July 16.

 

Prime Minister Simpson Miller encouraged members of the Partnership to double their resolve to strengthen the partnership approach to national development and to act decisively on agreed actions.   She noted that the Partnership must be realistic about setting targets and be prepared to make adjustments rather than abandon the programme,  bearing in mind that the Economic Reform Programme is the umbrella under which all activity falls.

 

“I believe that strengthening social capital, building trust and understanding each other are all important preconditions and contributors to inclusive economic development,” the Prime Minister said. . Noting that consumer and business confidence are the strongest they have been in the past three years, the Prime Minister stressed that “we must do everything in our power to prevent a reversal of the trend.” She added that in order to ensure sustainable growth, investment in the youth and business development is key. “Investment in the youth, facilitation of entrepreneurship and support for small and medium enterprises must continue to be areas of increased attention,” the Prime Minister pointed out.

 

Also in attendance at the retreat were several Cabinet Ministers and ministry representatives who made presentations on their various portfolio areas of responsibility and former Prime Minister of Barbados Owen Arthur, who delivered the keynote address outlining how the social partnership model was effectively implemented in Barbados.

 

Among the updates from the Government was a presentation on “Fiscal Consolidation with Social Protection and Inclusion” by Minister Without Portfolio in the Ministry of Finance and Planning and a report on “Energy Diversification and Conservation” by Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Minister Phillip Paulwell as well as Dr. Vincent Lawrence, chairman of the Energy Sector Enterprise Team which reports to the Cabinet on energy expansion and upgrading activities.

 

A presentation on “Doing Business and Employment Creation” was made by Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Anthony Hylton, while National Security Minister Peter Bunting spoke on “Rule of Law Adherence and Timely Justice outcomes.”

 

Of note at the retreat was information pointing to the country meeting and surpassing certain economic targets set by the Partnership. The Ease of Doing Business projection for Jamaica to achieve a 75th in the world ranking by 2016 from 90th in 2013 was outperformed with a 58th in the world ranking by 2015. The Government has also achieved the 7.5 per cent of Gross Domestic Product Primary Surplus 2016 target this year, moving from 5.3 per cent in 2013. With oil price reductions, the targeted 30 cents per kilowatt hour price of energy has been overachieved with the price falling from 42 cents in 2013 to 26 cents this year. The work of ESET is expected to sustainably reduce energy prices further irrespective of the world price of oil. At the same time inflation has been reduced to 4 per cent this year, the lowest level it has been in 48 years.