Jamaica has made significant strides since the meltdown of the financial sector but still has some way to go, says the President of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), Howard Mitchell.
He was speaking at a forum, which included private sector leaders, government officials, bankers, small business owners and Bank of Jamaica operatives.
Mitchell said the state must be commended for efforts to reduce its size, to shrink its bureaucracy… to be more facilitative and less interfering in commerce and to divest itself of the vast assets it still controls.
“But we want and need to see greater rationalization of various licences and permits, faster throughput of export approvals and increased purchasing of local products by the state.
“There should be less complex procurement rules and greater speed, transparency and simplicity in the divestment of state owned assets,” said Mitchell.
He pointed out that for some time now the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association has been lobbying for the need to stipulate for a certain percentage of Government procurement to be weighted in favour of local producers.
The PSOJ boss made it clear that the people of Jamaica wanted to see serious efforts made to reduce crime and corruption which continues to inhibit economic growth.
“Civil society in general wants to see effective corrective steps being taken by the state to punish and reduce corruption in all its forms wherever it occurs and whomever is involved. Crime and corruption are costing us too much in blood and in GDP growth.
“All well thinking members of the society must join hands to assist and cooperate with the state against the conjoined conspiracy of crime and corruption and we must start now… not just with repression and big talk but with cooperative and inclusive measures to encourage productive efforts in our society and to be all inclusive in our focus and growth,” Michell said.