JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Jamaica’s limited fiscal space does not allow the government to play “as great a role” as it would like in advancing growth
  • This undertaking needs to be taken up by the local private sector
  • It is the private sector that will, ultimately, facilitate increased productive activity

Significant private sector inputs are pivotal to ensuring that Jamaica’s economic reform programme (ERP) and growth strategy are successfully implemented and advanced.

This was the view advanced by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller and Finance and Planning Minister, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, during  the first of two major ERP stakeholders’ conferences held on September 12, at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston.

In her presentation, Mrs. Simpson Miller said Jamaica’s limited fiscal space does not allow the government to play “as great a role” as it would like in promoting and advancing growth.

Consequently, she said, this undertaking needs to be taken up, to a significant degree, by the local private sector, “be they micro, small, medium, or large”, and through foreign direct investments (FDIs).

“We (government) are committed to doing all we can to encourage both local and foreign investors alike…private sector investments. Making it easier to do business in Jamaica has to be (at) the forefront of government’s activities. Our task, once we have surveyed the present landscape, not just locally, but equally important, in the world economy, is to develop and implement programmes and projects to break us out of the cycle of successive adjustment programmes and to bring about  real economic growth,” the Prime Minister said.

In his remarks, Dr. Phillips said while the administration has been able to maintain tight expenditure, thus far for the 2013/14 fiscal year, it is the private sector that will, ultimately, facilitate increased productive activity.

“The role of the state is to create this environment (for production)…first of all, by not becoming the main borrower in our domestic financial markets and, therefore, allowing for interest rates to trend down and remain down, so that resources will be available for the private  investor. We have done this, so far, and I daresay we will continue to do this. We shall not be re-entering, as a substantial borrower of credit, in the domestic markets,” Dr. Phillips stated.

Thursday’s conference, held under the theme: ‘Jamaica’s Economic Programme – Going for Growth, Staying the Course’, is the first of two scheduled to provide updates on the ERP being implemented as a condition of the US$932.3 million four-year Extended Fund Facility (EFF), which the administration negotiated with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The conference was attended by a wide cross section of representatives from private and public sector agencies and entities, and community organisations, in parishes spanning the counties of Middlesex and Surrey.

A similar forum is scheduled for parishes in western Jamaica, on a date to be scheduled.