PARTNERSHIP FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH
THE STATE OF THE NATION
- Forty years of 1% GDP, almost two generations of marginal growth while the rest of the world was largely growing at much more impressive rates.
- Our productivity as a nation has declined precipitously since the halcyon days of the 1960s, when Jamaica’s annual productivity gains were among the best in the world.
- Though himself behind bars today, Buju Banton sang of Jamaica “opportunity is a scarce commodity”.
- And beyond opportunity, our role was commodity suppliers of raw material has dwindled, because we have failed to keep up with productivity, new technologies and economic diversification.
- Poverty and crime continue to stalk the land. Murder, mayhem and fear oftentimes are our constant companion.
- A Survey last year showed that 80% of our college graduates want a one-way ticket out of Jamaica.
- One Security Guard said to me last year, “I want to leave Jamaica, I have 2 children 14 and 9, and they live in a deplorable condition, and I want a better life for them.”
Mr. Speaker, This is what Jamaica is about today, if we are to secure a better life for our people we must move sure-footedly and purposefully from poverty to prosperity.
It was Napoleon Hill, writing in his book Think and Grow Rich who said, “What the mind can conceive and believe, it will achieve.”
Mr. Speaker, The path to wealth creation therefore, is not an overnight journey, but that process begins in our minds, with our thoughts.
For far too long, as a people we have been conditioned to believe that “no better nuh deh”. That notion, if firmly riveted and constantly re-enforced by negative messaging from opportunistic quarters, only serves to perpetuate poverty of the mind.
We must therefore, resolve to start that journey from poverty to prosperity by the way we think and the way we do things.
Mr. Speaker, with this introduction, the structure of my presentation today will be:
1. Review of Economy for FY 2015/16
2. Macroeconomic targets for FY 2016/17
3. Financing and Revenue Programme FY 2016/17
4. Highlights of the Expenditure Budget FY2016/17
5. Partnership for Economic Growth and Prosperity
6. Tax Reform and Worker Productivity
7. Revenue Measures