JLP targets investment - Party outlines plans in manifesto
Ruling party outlines route to jobs
BY INGRID BROWN Observer senior reporter ?email@example.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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