Addressing the executive body of the Jamaica Manufacturers and Export Association (JMEA) today, Dr. Phillips said the productive sectors are the most heavily regulated and Jamaica needs to reduce the levels of the bureaucracy to allow these sectors to expand and thrive.
“We need to address these regulations. The focus on public sector transformation as cost saving is shortsighted. Rather, public sector transformation needs to become a facilitator of legitimate investments and production. We need to get the State out of the way of real growth.” Dr. Phillips said.
The opposition leader pointed out that Jamaica needs to move decisively to incentivize production and innovation in the private sector through the tax system and a stable exchange rate, while establishing effective public-private partnerships through Industry Councils to drive innovation and competitiveness.
“We have to incentivize the innovative elements within the private sector. Firms who engage in re-training and thereby provide for high productivity labour that drives growth, need to be rewarded through the tax system,” he said.
A key to the way forward must be the targeting of internationally competitive investments (local and foreign) for the special economic zones and the unleashing of the creative energies and resilience of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). He emphasized the need for symbiotic linkages to be developed between the small and large producers.
He said the marijuana is not the only produce that needs to be explored in our special economic zones. “It is not just about marijuana. The use of Guava as a product in the treatment of diabetes needs to be exploited. In places like Havana there are thousands of acres under guava.” He also mentioned that people in New York are importing popular fruits grown in Jamaica from other parts of the world for the Caribbean community.
He explained that while Jamaica must move to incentive innovation and expand industries, the nation must ensure that it maintains the fundamental commitment to Fiscal Prudence as the structures and fiscal space open up.
“The biggest choice Jamaica will have to make is how we are going to utilize that greater fiscal space.” Dr. Phillips said.
He also said that as the productive sectors expand and higher wages become the norm, a complete transformation of the education system will be necessary for a massive revolution in the human capital stock of the country. Added to this, is the prospect of an expansive land titling drive which would allow some 700,000 more Jamaicans to become participants in the economy as it grows, Dr. Phillips said.
The Opposition Leader also posited ideas on the way forward against crime and violence and the restoration of communities and families through a targeted programme of social transformation.
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