Economics Lecturer at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Collin Bullock, says there are certain achievements which the Government can build on, and areas that need to be improved, in order to stimulate growth in the economy.
"We have got to continue the improvements which are being shown in terms of the reduction in major crimes. We’ve got to sustain that. In other words, investors get turned off by a lack of personal security, a lack of business security and the extremely high energy costs. These are matters which have got to be solved quickly in the (short) term," Mr. Bullock said in a recent interview with JIS News.
Mr. Bullock, who is also a member of the Government’s Council of Economic Advisors, noted that apart from the issue of greater business facilitation, there are other “fundamentals” that "we've got to fix," to attract investment and facilitate growth.
"In terms of fixing the fundamentals, either you’re going to have an indigenous entrepreneurial class coming to the fore or you create the conditions where an entrepreneurial class can come from the rest of the world to actually invest in Jamaica," he argued.
The Lecturer further pointed out that improving the efficiency of the education system is also critical to this process, lamenting statistics which reveal that less than 20 per cent of Jamaican workers are trained for the jobs they do. "We have to correct that, the through-put of our education system – graduating children who are illiterate. We've got to fix the education system," he said.
Mr. Bullock also cited the matter of public policy, as another area for improvement, noting that the efficiency of public administration also needs to be enhanced, if growth is to be realised.
He said that spending less money will not generate growth, but rather reduce the fiscal deficit. “If we are speaking about trying to facilitate low interest rates and private sector investment, you’re not going to have low interest rates if the Government is borrowing everything there is in the market. In other words, if the fiscal deficit is high, interest rates will not come down," he pointed out.
Mr. Bullock emphasised that growth should not be dependent on Government spending alone, that the country needs a dynamic entrepreneurial private sector, “which can respond to the conditions being created to invest to generate growth."