|Gov't, private sector stress need for partnership
Saturday, March 08, 2003
GOVERNMENT and private sector bosses sat down to the first day of economic talks yesterday, with both sides stressing the need for partnership in the effort to return buoyancy to the Jamaican economy.
The three-day session at the posh Ritz Carlton Hotel in Montego Bay, was called by the Government as its prepares to present the 2003/2004 budget, which analysts predict will carry strong fiscal measures aimed at slashing a public sector deficit running at over eight per cent of GDP. This will likely mean reduced Government spending and higher taxes.
But making it clear that that recovery, and growth, was not the responsibility of the Government only, Prime Minister Patterson stressed that the private sector also had a major role to play.
He told about 50 corporate bosses who were invited to the get-together that the administration accepted that the Government had " a primary responsibility for creating the enabling environment", but said that social and economic factors were not always entirely within its control.
"In the market economy which we are building the private sector has to be the main engine of economic growth and the principal a source of investment," Patterson said. "This places on the private sector a great responsibility, which it cannot shirk, in discharging its role to provide jobs within the enabling environment."
Beverly Lopez, the president of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica, told government leaders that the private sector was "interested in a constructive conversation with the Government to move the country forward".
Lopez highlighted the need for a greater push to raise education levels as well as advance health care delivery, to maximise the country's human resource potential.