OPPOSITION spokesperson on finance, Audley Shaw, says that while former Prime Minister Edward Seaga believed in the private sector as the engine of economic growth, he felt that Government had a role to play.
"Edward Seaga believed that the private sector must be the engine of growth in a market economy, and he advanced policies to achieve this objective," Shaw said Tuesday, as both Houses of Parliament paid tribute to Seaga's record of 45 years in the Jamaican legislature.
"He also believed that Government has a role to play in facilitating private sector investment, which is why he established JNIP/JAMPRO in the 1980s which led to the revival of the apparel industry, tourism, non- traditional agriculture and furniture manufacturing, as well as the introduction of business process outsourcing to Jamaica," he said.
Shaw noted that under Seaga's financial management, Jamaica achieved average annual growth of six per cent in the first 10 years of Independence.
"He served Jamaica as finance minister for a period of 13 years, spanning two periods. During this period, for 11 out of the 13 years, annual growth rates averaged 4.1 per cent, with growth of 11.9 per cent recorded in 1970, and eight per cent in 1987 — the two highest growth figures recorded in Jamaica's history since independence," Shaw said.
He also praised Seaga's tangible economic achievements including:starting the development of Portmore/Hellshire; establishing the Jamaica Stock Exchange; the Urban Development Corporation (UDC); the Jamaica Development Bank; the Jamaica Unit Trust; the Jamaica Mortgage Bank; the HEART Programme; Jamaicanisation of the financial sector; Jamaica National Investment Promotion (JAMPRO); the Student Revolving Loan Fund (Students' Loan Bureau); the Agricultural Development Bank; and the conversion of the Jamaican currency from the pound to the dollar.
He praised Seaga's "fixity of purpose and courage of conviction to get the job done".
"Jamaica is a better place as a result of his lifetime commitment to the social and economic upliftment of Jamaicans," he said.
Shaw and Seaga share the distinction of being the only two Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) finance ministers since the death of Sir Donald Sangster in 1967. Seaga was minister of finance 1967-1972 and 1980-1989. Shaw served as finance minister 2007-2011.