Business

Halve energy cost in 3 years to unlock growth — Zacca

Friday, August 24, 2012    

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JAMAICA won't grow unless its energy cost is halved within three years, by Chris Zacca's reckoning.

The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) head aims to push national energy policy in this direction.

"We are strengthening our energy committee at the PSOJ, and I will chair the new committee," he said. "The PSOJ will need to play a mediating role in bringing all the parties together on this issue to forge an indivisible national consensus and strong action."

Zacca believes that lack of economic growth reflects a failure of national leadership, and not just politically.

"We at the PSOJ must critically reflect on our motto Free Enterprise and Watch Jamaica Grow," he said, while questioning why the lobby group has not succeeded in making our motto a reality.

"This reflection must consider whether the private sector itself has not been united," Zacca told an audience attending the panel discussion at the SALISES Fifty-Fifty conference at the Pegasus hotel on Monday.

He also questioned whether some sectorial lobby groups have been pushing their agendas over national interest.

"Has this contributed to an economy where there are painfully few examples of Jamaican entrepreneurship?" he asked.

His response: "I think so".

Zacca proposed major steps that the group would take towards a comprehensive approach to national development, starting with efforts to unite the lobby groups towards this end.

"Once united, we need to partner with the Government and civil society to promote the creation of a policy framework that enables competiveness and productivity, and a business-friendly environment," he said. "On this front I am happy to say that the Honourable Prime Minister has told me that she intends to restart the Partnership discussions between Government, the Private Sector and Civil Society."

Other thrusts will be focused on reducing the ABCs of bad governance — arrogance, bureaucracy and corruption — and continuing to actively lobby for transformational tax and incentive reform.

"I believe that a failure to grow our economy is the single greatest reason for most, if not all, the ills we suffer from as a nation including, crime, poor education quality, a deterioration of institutional capacity etc," he said. "It is apparent to me that we will not be able to survive in a global economy as a stable, viable nation if we go through another 50 years of such chronic underperformance."

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