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  • Support for Jamaica’s privatization policy has come from former Minister of State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) in New Zealand, Hon. Richard Prebble.
  • Speaking at a JIS ‘Think Tank’ on July 21, Mr. Prebble said that by privatizing more of its SOEs, the country will have more resources at its disposal, particularly to repay some of its debt.
  • Mr. Prebble is part of a team from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) visiting Jamaica to present the findings of a 2014 report by the ADB titled: ‘Finding Balance 2014: Benchmarking the Performance of State Owned Enterprises in Island Countries’.

Support for Jamaica’s privatization policy has come from former Minister of State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) in New Zealand, Hon. Richard Prebble.

Speaking at a JIS ‘Think Tank’ on July 21, Mr. Prebble said that by privatizing more of its SOEs, the country will have more resources at its disposal, particularly to repay some of its debt.

Mr. Prebble is part of a team from the Asian Development  Bank (ADB) visiting Jamaica to present the findings of a 2014 report by the ADB titled: ‘Finding Balance 2014: Benchmarking the Performance of State Owned Enterprises in Island Countries’.

He informed that the ADB study found that SOEs in Jamaica make a contribution of 1.5 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), while those in poorer countries in the Pacific contribute, on average, 4.5 per cent to (GDP). He said that the difference of three per cent is achievable for Jamaica.

Mr. Prebble was one of the architects of New Zealand’s State Owned Enterprises reform programme, which is recognized internationally as being one of the most comprehensive and successful programmes ever undertaken.

He said a decision by the New Zealand government to appoint a Minister who would be fully in charge of the SEOs resulted in a shift in the allocation of resources for the betterment of the country.

Mr. Prebble informed that within the last 20 years, the SOE reform has resulted in an increase in employment and standard of living in New Zealand.

He said that the ADB study also revealed that privatization of SOEs does not lead to an increase in cost of services offered to the public, but rather more efficient and profitable enterprises.

Meanwhile, Deputy Financial Secretary with responsibility for Public Enterprises in the Ministry of Finance and Planning, Ann-Marie Rhoden, said privatization of loss making assets has served the country well.

“We’ve privatized a number of entities, because Government took the position that it would not remain with commercial entities,” Mrs. Rhoden said.

She pointed out that the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), which is the privatization arm of the Government, has done well with privatization of a number of large businesses over the years.

“Those that have done well are those that have competition, (because) wherever there are elements of competition, then they would have done well,” Mrs. Rhoden added.