JOE Matalon championed tax reform and youth development. Chris Zacca wants to drive down energy cost and resolve Caricom trade issues.
“Without cheaper energy we can’t compete and grow,” said the newly appointed president of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ). “It is a game changer and the PSOJ intends to take a leadership role on this critical issue.”
He also said that the lobby group would take a “reasoned informed approach to the issue of Caricom Trade”. PSOJ vice president Keith Duncan, who will chair the trade committee, has been tasked with evaluating the facts and preparing a position for ratification of PSOJ’s council.
“We will continue to increase our advocacy on issues of Good Governance and fight against the ABC’s of Bad Governance, Arrogance, Bureaucracy, and Corruption,” he said at a luncheon in appreciation of Matalon’s three years of service at the Wyndham Hotel in Kingston.
Matalon left a legacy of position papers which have framed PSOJ Policy, including an economic policy framework; a position paper on national security, and proposals on pension as well as tax reform (as part of Private Sector Working Group).
“(This makes) our advocacy task much easier and allow(s) us to hit the ground running as we constantly review and improve on them during our own term of office,” Zacca said. “The struggle for real and effective tax reform that lays a foundation for long-term equitable growth still continues, and again I am happy to inform you all that Joe Matalon will continue to lead the PSWG on Tax Reform going forward.”
Matalon’s administration also got $350 million in commitments from the local private sector and multilateral agencies to initiate seven projects — most notably the Youth Upliftment through Employment Programme (YUTE).
Phase 1 is aimed at mentoring, training and providing work experience to 2,200 unattached youth in eight Kingston communities between January 2011 and June 2013, at a cost of $400 million ($200 million cash, the remainder in kind).
The PSOJ will set out to develop objective indicators of our Human and Economic Development in order to assess the state of the country’s development when compared to others, according to Zacca, who said the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) has agreed to assist in the exercise.
“Folks we have to find a way to grow our economy rapidly,” said Zacca. “Without it everything else will fail.
“But this growth has to be broad based with equity, from the ground up and driven by small business and entrepreneurs. We must foster entrepreneurial capitalism not state capitalism.”
The new PSOJ executive also includes vice presidents Don Wehby, CEO of GraceKennedy and Richard Byles, CEO of Sagicor Life Jamaica; Treasurer Jackie Sharp, vice-president of Bank of Nova Scotia; Secretary Chris Barnes, CEO of the Gleaner Company; and the organisation’s CEO Sandra Glasgow.