Business

Private sector must play godfather role, says Phillips

BY TAMEKA GORDON Assistant business co-ordinator tamekag@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, December 14, 2012    

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Minister of Finance Peter Phillips says established private sector interests can increase the country's productivity through mentoring small businesses.

It's part of the dynamic participation of the private sector needed to achieve the tenets of the Economic Recovery Programme (ERP), said the finance minister.

Speaking to members of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) at a luncheon yesterday, Phillips advised the group to expand its membership by grooming new recruits.

"There is going to be a special emphasis on the facilitation of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs)," he said, noting that SMEs have the capacity to create a siginificant number of jobs.

The minister added that Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) will play key roles in major infrastructure projects, which are expected to drive investment and job creation.

Jamaica's viability would be greatly enhanced through partnerships that provide "productive employment for the 15 per cent unemployed," he said.

The challenges posed by the "467,000 individuals who are neither employed nor looking for work", must also be dealt with, he said, while assuring the stakeholders of the Government's willingness to provide the necessary policy frameworks.

"I am aware that the goals of the ERP can only be achieved by a government that becomes more accountable and more efficient," he said.

Phillips said the government is committed to improving financial management and creating a more flexible, efficient and transparent administration.

The minister's pronouncements came amid calls by PSOJ president Christopher Zacca for "bold action" to spur progress in the economy.

"The private sector wants to be a part of the solution and not the problem," Zacca said, noting that its membership "is running out of patience" with "the lack of bold moves" from the government to spur economic growth.

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