WASHINGTON, DC — Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding says the economic measures that the Government has put in place are now bearing fruit, and are set to put the country on a sound economic path.
Delivering a lecture at the Brookings Institute in Washington, D.C., yesterday, the Prime Minister pointed out that while the country is experiencing economic growth in certain areas, more needs to be done in order to reap even greater economic success.
Mr. Golding told the more than 200 participants, that some of the measures put in place to help realise the economic success, included the introduction of the Jamaica Debt Exchange (JDX), measures to reduce crime, divesting Air Jamaica and the island’s sugar factories, along with the development of stringent economic programmes, with support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.
[More Photos of PM Golding at the Brookings Institution]
The Prime Minister explained that the Government had instituted significant institutional reforms to create fiscal sustainability through legislation that will put serious restrictions on the country’ s deficit and accumulation of debt, and move it away from just government’s own decision and to subject it to significant parliamentary oversight.
“Indeed, I want to go further and put it in the Constitution and place significant limits, with the provision that in extraordinary circumstances, with the approval of Parliament, that those limits can be exceeded,” the Prime Minister said.
“We have sought to consolidate government’s accounts and bring them under one Treasury Management System. This will allow us to have a clearer picture of our government accounts,” he added.
The Prime Minister said that last month (May), a major programme of tax reform was tabled in Parliament and that January 1, 2012, is set for the full roll out.
“After one year of intense work, we have also completed a major restructuring of the public sector. We have also embarked on a significant programme of privatisation. We are well advanced in the divestment of the government aluminum refineries and privatising the Norman Manley International Airport, along with plans to privatise the management of the Port of Kingston,” he added.
Mr. Golding emphasised that he is trying to return the government to its essential core functions and leave to the private sector, those things that are more suited to private sector investment and management.
“The government is embarking on a programme of good governance, putting in place a number of critical measures, because we recognise that this too is important in supporting the hopes and plans for economic development,” he said.
“We have passed constitutional amendments to establish a new Charter of fundamental rights and freedom. We have established an Independent Commission of Investigation to deal with instances of abuse by agents of the State. We have legislation to criminalise the process by how government contracts are awarded,” he added.
The Prime Minister, who arrived in Washington on June 5, has so far held bi-lateral talks with the US Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton; President of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick; Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Naoyuki Shinonara, and had an investment luncheon with US-based high level investors.
He will meet with the President of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Luis Moreno and officially launch the IDB Caribbean American Art Exhibition, where some six Jamaican artists are participating.
On Thursday (June 9), the Prime Minister will be recognised on the floor of the US Senate and later that afternoon he will deliver the keynote address at the IDB’s International Forum on Caribbean investment and development at the IDB headquarters.
The Prime Minister and his delegation will return to the island on Friday, June 10.
By DERRICK SCOTT, JIS Reporter