People Power: Leading the Agenda for Progressive Change
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Below are excerpts of the 2011 election manifesto of the People's National Party
SECTION ONE: THE MACROECONOMY AND STRATEGIES FOR GROWTH
Under a PNP Administration:
1. A new medium-term agreement with the IMF will be negotiated.
2. Public sector workers will be engaged in developing an agreed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to reduce wages and salaries as a percentage of GDP.
3. The tax net will be broadened as an integral part of tax reforms intended to broaden and revamp the incentives regime and stimulate growth.
4. Hold genuine dialogue with workers and their representatives to tackle the urgent need for public sector pension reform.
5. Select public assets will be identified and properly packaged for transparent divestment to drive investment, growth and job creation.
6. Parliamentary processes will be introduced to bring greater transparency and participation to the formulation of budgetary and taxation policies to prevent situations like the formulation of the Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme (JDIP) without what the PNP said is transparency and accountability or Parliamentary oversight.
7. There will be a concerted effort to mobilise investments in key productive sectors which will form the basis for the growth strategy. The identified sectors are: ICT, tourism, agriculture and agro-processing, manufacturing and the Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise (MSME) Sector.
8. Decision-making on the choice of fuel sources will be accelerated with the principal objective of reducing energy costs for all sectors of the economy.
SECTION TWO: REPOSITIONING THE ECONOMY FOR GROWTH
If elected to government, the PNP says it will be actively involved in the following over the medium to long term:
o Giving support to the development of viable renewable energy projects
o Upgrading existing legislation affecting the electricity sector and seeking to alter, to the extent possible, the terms of the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) electricity supply arrangements, to enhance the national interest, to encourage investments by the providers while providing a fair return to them
o Expanding the use of solar energy
o Improving the public transportation system to make it more energy-efficient
o Reviewing and strengthening the OUR to more effectively protect the public interest, while recognising the need for investment in the sector
o Studying the possibilities of introducing nuclear energy as part of the energy supply mix over the longer term.
o Establishing a National Energy Council to address relevant issues and affairs of stakeholders.
o Taking the necessary steps to realise earnings from carbon credits.
o Re-activate efforts to explore for oil and gas.
o Reviewing the status of modernisation and expansion proposal of the Petrojam Refinery with a view to early implementation.
o Re-formulating the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Project will be within the context of a competitive exercise where the market makes a determination as to the fuel sources.
o Leading a national public education campaign in the reduction of the use of electrical energy
o Switching over of its 90,000 street lamps to solar photo-voltaic with the immediate effect of lowering its electricity bill.
o Mandating the increased use of renewable sources of energy and the increased use of energy efficient equipment and processes in government agencies and departments.
Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)
1.Implement effective IT governance framework with clear roles, responsibilities, accountabilities and processes.
2.Exploit digital technologies for governance with emphasis on revenue collection, education, health, poverty-reduction and crime fighting.
- Greater broadband penetration
- Extend E-Learning to the primary and basic school system
3.Assume the lead in the creation of a shared service IT framework (G-Cloud) capable of supporting plans for short term cost reductions, improved revenue collection, integrated service delivery and an ultimately seamless government.
4.Encourage and facilitate the use of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) to break the stranglehold of proprietary software suppliers and reduce cost, particularly for application software.
5.Remove taxation on selected computers and ICT peripherals.
6.Greater access and use of international best practices.
7.Establishment of a single regulatory authority for the ICT sector given the reality of digital convergence.
1.Implement key elements of the service delivery framework.
2.Fast-track the passage of comprehensive consumer protection provisions that will result in significant savings to consumers and end-users.
3.Promote research and innovation in ICT
4.Deploy resources for training to enlarge the human resource pool.
1.Establish the Universal Access Fund (UAF) as an independent entity, similar to the PetroCaribe Fund, under the new Telecommunications Act which will be used to:
i Deliver educational solutions at the primary and basic school levels.
ii Create access points at the community level for the transfer of information and community project support
iii Strengthen and widen the country's crime-detection and crime-fighting efforts through the use of technologies, such as public networked camera systems.
2. Position Jamaica as the regional ICT hub.
The PNP says it will seek partnerships with the private sector, providing land to set out one million square feet of space for joint venture development of 'plug and play' facilities (configuration of computer hardware-related devices).
Promote the creation of parish and regional centres of excellence for knowledge-based industries to stimulate local economies and create sustainable jobs. The Greater Mandeville area has been identified as one location possessing the human resources, health, education and ICT infrastructure suitable for such developments.
The Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP)
Funding will come from the reallocation of approximately 25 per cent of the Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme (JDIP) budget, complemented by resources from the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF).
o These resources will be channelled into labour- intensive infrastructure projects, such as the construction of retaining walls, paving of gullies and reforestation.
o Proper systems will be put in place to ensure transparency, accountability and efficiency.
o Special JEEP Tax Incentives for private sector firms to complement the GOJ's activities in creating employment by encouraging new investments by existing firms. These will be maintained for an initial period of three years. The measures to encourage such investments will apply across the board, without sector discrimination.
o Funding will be made available for the GOJ to take equity positions in firms in the MSME sector, on terms whereby the owners can repurchase the shares over a 3-5 year period.
Imperatives for the Future
The People's National Party says it will:
o Ensure planned integrated infrastructural development of Resort areas. Consensus will be sought on a plan that outlines development along the North and South coasts to include housing, water supply, sewerage, transportation and environment protection measures.
o Restore restructured Resort Boards as a tool for consultation and management of the development of the resort areas.
o Continue the development of the Cruise Ship Sector.
o Pursue the development of Harmony Cove.
o Ensure the protection of the environment to guarantee sustainability of our product.
o Upgrade, beautify and enhance resort areas using the Tourism Enhancement Fund following pre-approved plans designed by resort architects.
o Diversify overseas markets by focusing more on the potential of the European, UK and Canadian markets and to explore market activities in the emerging markets particularly Latin America and Asia.
o Expand airlift into Jamaica
o Focus on increasing the revenue earned from the sector.
o Ensure that pension schemes and planned housing benefits are put in place for hotel industry workers.
o Deepen and widen tourism linkages with other sectors of the economy and ensure that more tourism dollars stay in Jamaica.
o The TEF will be restored to its original mandate of being a transformational source of funding for the industry.
o Develope, expand and diversify the number of available attractions which showcase heritage and culture.
o Create a Heritage/Culture Development Unit at the Tourism Product Development Company. Community projects will be evaluated, and assistance provided to access loan funds through TEF.
o Use TEF resources to upgrade the physical infrastructure of craft markets, expand and diversify their product offerings, assist with training in new methodologies, technologies and marketing.
o Provide support for the small and medium hotel sector by funding special dedicated marketing programmes targeting clusters.
o Pursue the development of specific market segments of tourism for which Jamaica is ideally suited, e.g. sports tourism, and health tourism.
o Expand the tourism awareness campaigns in communities and schools
Programme Initiatives to Enhance Competitiveness
Restructure institutions that were built to support a now outdated period of economic development, including:
i. Establishment of a Venture Capital facility, the Jamaica 50 Growth and Development Fund (J50GDF), that will provide entrepreneurs with venture capital, collateral support and capacity building, aimed at facilitating the conversion and transformation of creative ideas into innovative products and services for the local and global markets. Funded by private debt and equity sources, the J50GDF will be an innovative financing approach to overcome the historic difficulty of moving ideas through to practical valuable products.
ii. A Council on Competitiveness, Innovation and Creativity will be established to address Jamaica's long-run productivity that has been in consistent decline for several decades. The Administration will spearhead initiatives to convert Jamaican innovation into the local production of goods and services, thereby spurring economic activity and job creation.
iii. A Special ICT Broadband Regime for MSMEs will be established as a critical infrastructure for sustainability, firm management efficiency, transparency, accountability and integration.
iv. The National Export Strategy (NES) will be reviewed to ensure its alignment with, and relevance to, trends in the global marketplace and to improve the balance of payments deficit.
v. Partner with the private sector, unions and civil society in leveraging bilateral/multilateral resources available under the recently announced Aid-for-Trade policy and Compete Caribbean programmes.
vi. Provide greater support for the training of MSME business owners in Enterprise Risk Management.
vii. Tax policy for the encouragement of innovation to take advantage of the intense competition being conducted globally for securing innovation-based and knowledge-based businesses; both from the perspective of retaining domestic innovators who may be attracted away by other firms, as well as in attracting overseas innovators to our shores.
viii. Revise the imposition of GCT on ICT products in 2009 as a matter of priority in order to support firms in meeting the challenges of globalisation.
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