JLP targets investment - Party outlines plans in manifesto

Ruling party outlines route to jobs

BY INGRID BROWN Observer senior reporter ?browni@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


JOB creation through public/private partnership, resolution of taxation, public sector efficiencies and pension reforms as agreed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the continuation of legislative and regulatory reforms to strengthen laws and address corruption are the areas slated for immediate attention should the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) be returned to office after the December 29 poll.

This is according to party leader and Prime Minister Andrew Holness who also highlighted the slew of election promises outlined in the ruling party’s 2011 manifesto launched yesterday.

According to Holness, a government led by him would create sustainable and gainful employment, and the only way to do this is through investment.

“The Government will work closely with the private sector through the establishment of a clear policy of public/private partnership,” Holness told guests at the manifesto launch at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston.

According to the JLP’s manifesto, job creation will be the central focus of the economic strategies and will, among other things, include the merger of Jampro, the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) and Ex-Im Bank to become one investment promotion, financing and marketing powerhouse. This mega-agency, the party said, would be used to attract foreign investment and stimulate local investment.

Chairman of the Manifesto Committee and JLP Deputy Leader Dr Christopher Tufton said special attention will also be given to Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) with an MSME policy to be tabled for implementation by the first quarter of next year.

“We are working with a number of agencies to fund MSMEs and an announcement will be made in the first quarter of next year in conjunction with DBJ where $100 million initially will be made available for capacity building,” said Tufton.

Another focus for job creation is ICT which, Tufton said, is one of the pillars of the party’s job creation and economic expansion programme.

“Jamaica is extremely, naturally, and comfortably poised, based on [its] location to North America, the English Language and cost consideration, to shift some of those (ICT) jobs from India or The Philippines to our location,” he said.

The JLP said it would also focus on niche export opportunities with particular emphasis being placed on market access, capacity building, market intelligence and segmentation, as well as promotion. The programme to facilitate increased export sales, the JLP said, would be underpinned by the exploration of new markets for Jamaican products in keeping with existing trade agreements.

Additionally, the ruling party said it is committed to the introduction of online registration of companies, reduction of multiple business filings, introduction of electronic signature, and addressing bureaucracy to enable the business environment.

“The super form is almost complete, and by the first quarter of next year we will have online transactions with a super form where businesses can fill out one form instead of visiting several agencies in order to complete the registration process,” Tufton said.

The JLP’s solution for the energy crisis is the continued modernisation of the electricity generation infrastructure, diversifying the fuel/renewables mix, strengthening regulations and institutions, and promoting energy efficiency and conservation.

Plans are also said to be far advanced for the establishment of the credit bureau and it is slated to come on stream by mid-year in 2012.

The JLP is also proposing the development of enterprise zones which would be located in major urban and rural centres with appropriate incentives and shared services to facilitate new start-ups in the manufacturing, agricultural and service sectors.

By the middle of next year, Tufton said, Jamaica jerk, rum and Blue Mountain coffee, once registered, will become authentic Jamaican products, which means they can only be manufactured here in Jamaica with local raw material.

Meanwhile, Tufton said the country will see significant progress in the first two quarters of next year in terms of insolvency laws which are fundamental towards encouraging entrepreneurship.

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Elli Deedo
12/20/2011 - 8:07 PM
Creating cheap labour jobs in which people cannot survive from make's no sence. I'am sure these are the type of job creation you are talking about here. Inviting companies to use jamaicans like slaves, operating outside of laws, they do as they want with workers and they have no rights, make's no sense; some are at present out there. There must be protection and meaningful employment to prevent corruption Holness. The PNP will do a better Job, we've always protect our workers; the N.W.U. Sorry:
karl ranks
12/20/2011 - 5:35 PM
The IMF (International Monetary Fund) issue seems to be very unclear among the Jamaican People.
The PNP have dealt with the IMF during the years they were in power but decided against borrowing any money in the last few years just before JLP won the election.
The Jamaican people need to know the details regarding this huge loan; how much money have been distributed so far because we all know that its a disbursement loan.
We need to know the terms of the disbursement, how many, fees for each disbursement, interest rate on the disbursements and a projected view to see if we are on track to pay off this loan in a timely matter.
We need to know the problems we face on getting the next disbursement funds and problems in getting past disbursement funds.
The longer it takes to get a disbursement the more it cost us because we are still paying interest on each amount received. The money is there but if we do not keep up with the terms then we cannot access the remaining funds so we can't take care of the initial plans for the loan.
What would happen if we have a major crisis and we are still way up to our neck in debt?

Anancy Bedward
12/20/2011 - 5:26 PM
Ever notice come election time both parties offer well-sounding and "this will solve all Jamaica's problems" manifestos. Then afterwards the day to day reality of the majority of Jamaicans remains the same?
12/20/2011 - 12:18 PM
I think these are some very good ideas by the JLP, my problem is I hope it is not just election promises. All of what they said will be implemented by next year sounds good, if they win We should remember this and hold them to it. Unless there is another financial problem accross the globe then there is no reason why thes plans cant be put in place.
christopher Isaacs
12/20/2011 - 10:43 AM
Mortgage rates have to be tackled in a way as commercial banking rate had been. A revival of the construction industry is needed, as this industry is single most in incorporating and driving all other sector of the economy. The small shops in communities, the hardware stores, taxi cabs, architects and skilled and unskilled labor will all benefit, however with mortgage rate hovering in the 12-15% range is indeed a major preventing factor.
christopher Isaacs
12/20/2011 - 10:29 AM
Former PM PSM had used 1b of NIS funds for lending to persons wanting to establish small businesses, however we have not heard much about whether this was a successful venture or not or even whether these monies were payed back. I am of the view that this system does not work. Persons need to own their establishments!!. Light bill and rent alone will consume these funds. Discourage commercialism and encourage manufacturing and creation of a product (s) Mortgage instead of rent.
christopher Isaacs
12/20/2011 - 10:15 AM
Undoubtedly Jamaica has some of the best agricultural products, one just has to live outside of Jamaica to realize this undeniable fact, however one is hard pressed to find these products on the shelves in eg. the US food markets at reasonable prices. Ways must be found to have products exported in a more sustainable and economical way. This will benefit farmers immensely. The stop and go food processing has to stop. Give export/manufacturing a free run. Ackee too expensive!! $9.00US ??!!
christopher Isaacs
12/20/2011 - 10:01 AM
Although I am weary of promises, especially in an existing world of economic malaise, am still a bit encouraged by the comprehensive nature of the new JLP manifesto as outlined here. I am most impressed by the plan to establish enterprise zones. I am suggesting that NHT funds be used to establish these zones with a view to have persons or groups of persons owning these establishments. Sustainable MSMEs can only be realized through ownership of the building that house the building.