RED TAPE HOUNDS INVESTOR OUT OF JA ... WITH BILLIONS IN TOW
Dennis Chung also cited at least one case where a would-be investor for a potentially large project in Jamaica took the business to the Dominican Republic instead because of problems getting the requisite approval in Jamaica.
The PSOJ has from time to time appealed to successive governments to put in place measures to reduce red tape, which has long been an impediment to doing business and, according to Chung, the way to do so is through public-sector transformation, for which they have been waiting for years.
He referred, for example, to a public-sector wage freeze at a time when Dr Omar Davies was finance minister.
Part of the agreement was that there would have been some form of transformation in terms of training, retraining and finding opportunities for people, other than in the public sector, Chung explained.
“It never happened. To this day, it hasn’t happened. So we have lost billions of dollars in investments, in lost opportunities because of poor government policy,” he added.
The PSOJ CEO said Prime Minister Andrew Holness “has indicated, and I have had discussions with people in the Government who said they are moving ahead with this thing”.
He noted that the Economic Growth Council has also advised that public-sector transformation is essential if Jamaica is to achieve the target the council has set out, for five per cent growth in four years.
“It is now the second most problematic factor to doing business. We can’t hold the Economic Growth Council responsible if the Government doesn’t play its part. They have to ensure that this is done,”