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Sectoral Debates 2008 - The Hon. James Robertson

Release Date: 
Tuesday, July 1, 2008 - 13:45

1.0 INTRODUCTORY REMARKS

Mr. Speaker, it is indeed a humbling experience as I rise to speak in this Honourable House not only as a second term Member of Parliament, and first time Cabinet Minister, but at a time when the people of Jamaica have embraced and voted for a change. They have voted for a team committed to, and leading the charge to bring about authentic change and real advancement to our beloved nation. Under the sagacious, strong and effective leadership of the Chief Servant and Prime Minister, the Honourable Bruce Golding, every Jamaican now has a credible reason to HOPE. Mr. Speaker, what a relief to have a Prime Minister – a Driver who knows where he and his passengers are going!

Before I get into the details of my presentation, there are a number of very special people in my life to whom I would like to extend my gratitude. To Charlene, my wife, my true love for close to 26 years, and soon to be 19 years of marriage. Mina and Ava, my two beautiful daughters, who are a daily treat to me. My ever present and committed father, Ishmael, and my astute and loving mother, Hermina, who to this day continue to be there for me.

Mr. Speaker, to my West St. Thomas family I say thank you. It is your overwhelming faith, trust and confidence that have allowed me to be your servant for a second time. I look forward to continuously serving you as Member of Parliament to the best of my ability. To my six Councilors, my Constituency Executive and Management Committee I say thank you for your diligence, commitment and unbreakable team work in seeking to make West St. Thomas arguably one of the best represented constituencies in this land.

Mr. Speaker, I want to assure the people of West St. Thomas of my team’s commitment to their social and economic advancement. Several job‐creating projects have already gotten off the ground. Several more are to come. The people would also notice in short order the commencement of several community projects aimed at improving communities, making daily life less stressful and allowing you as St. Thomas citizens to be proud. I speak of projects that will be funded by the Constituency Development Fund, a revolutionary initiative on the part of this government that finally makes MPs better equipped and better able to represent heir constituents by being more responsive to their basic needs.

I would also like to thank Dr. the Hon. Carlton Davis, OJ, and Ambassador Douglas Saunders, the former and current Cabinet Secretaries, respectively, Mrs. Patricia Sinclair McCalla, Permanent Secretary, OPM, and the staff of the Cabinet Office/OPM, for all their assistance in carrying out my duties as Minister.

Thanks also to the Clerk of the House, the orderlies and the other members of her team.

2.0 HISTORICAL OVERVIEW OF DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVES IN JAMAICA

Mr. Speaker, before outlining the approach I am taking in using development as the vehicle for national forward movement I want to remind te House of some of the historical precedents that focused on development in this country.

Mr. Speaker, one of the distinct shortcomings in public policy formulation and development in Jamaica under successive administrations has een the lack of a sustained overall long‐term national planning process. This is not to say that there has not been recognition of the need for a holistic, structured and integrated planning framework. However, invariably timely implementation never seemed to have represented an integral feature of governance and the development plannig process. It can therefore be argued that whilst different administrations have brought varied approaches to the process of public poliy formulation and development, the absence of institutional mechanisms that foster longer term perspectives that transcend across a change of administration epresents a distinct shortcoming that needs to be addressed.

2.1 The Pre‐Independence Era
From as far back as 1946 the then government of the day recognized that the development process required a structured planning ramework and it embarked upon a Ten Year Plan of Development for Jamaica, 1946‐56. That plan was later revised in 1951 (and referred to by many as the World Bank 1952‐62 Plan). Since that time Jamaica has had a series of Five‐Year Development Plans, the last one undertaken being for the period 1990‐1995. This was followed by the development of the National Industrial Policy and a series of 3‐year roll‐over Medium Term Policy Frameworks (MTF) which articulated the Government’s socio‐economic policies, anchored in the Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP).

2.2 The 1963‐68 Five‐Year Independence Plan
But, Mr. Speaker, just how successful has this national planning process been? The Most Honourable Edward Seaga pointed out in his article in the Sunday Gleaner of June 3, 2007 entitled “Planning for What?” that of the 10 development plans that have been prepared and published, only one of these plans was ever fully implemented – that was the 1963‐68 Five‐Year Independence Plan of the Jamaica Labour Party Government led by the Right Excellent Sir Alexander Bustamante. This development plan, Mr. Speaker, was prepared under the policy leadership of the then Minister of Development and Welfare, the Hon. Edward Seaga.

It is interesting to note that although my esteemed colleagues on the other side of this Honourable House like to claim that thy care more for the poor, a World Bank 1993 Comparative Study of Five Small Open Economics edited by Ronald Findlay and Stanislaw Wellisz states in relaion to the 1963‐68 Five‐Year Independence Plan that [Quote] “…this development plan, masterminded by the JLP leader who was to become Prime Minister in 1980, was clearly designed to establish a new role for the government as an intervener on behalf of the poorer classes, a regulator of the private sector, and the prime mover in stimulating growth. The foundation was being laid for what might be called the "political management" of the economy…” [End Quote]

Mr. Speaker, I will have more to say on the role that Mr. Seaga played later on in this presentation.

I should also point out that the timely implementation of the Five‐Year Independence Plan was effected in no small measure by the work of Jamaica’s greatest promoter of industrialization and devlopment. Of course I speak of none other than the late great Robert “Bob” Lightbourne. And Mr. Speaker, I proudly represent a constituency within the parish that produced this stalwart! His work in promoting industry in the 1960’s led to Jamaica’s greatest era economically. A time when we ranked above Singapore and other newly emerging developing countries in industrial output and were among the fastest growing economies in the world. It was a time distinguished by unprecedented vision – under a JLP administration!

Building on the intellectual legacy of the great St. Lucian economist, Sir Arthur Lewis, Bob Lightbourne gave practical life to the ideas of “industrialization by invitation,” as expounded by Lewis, while creating the conditions to nurture local industry and creating the environment that led to the birth and growth of localcompanies that are now household names in Jamaica and abroad.

2.3 The Manley Era, 1972‐1980
Mr. Speaker, it is interesting to note that whilst former Prime Minister Michael Manley, and the other democratic socialist members of his Cabinet of the 1970s were great advocates of planning, they did not have a plan for the first six years of his administration. It was not until 1978 when his Democratic Socialism Plan was prepared. Any objective assessment of this plan suggests that it was ill‐conceived.

Mr. Speaker, the 1993 World Bank study to which I have already referred had this to say about the Manley Government’s attempts to restructue the country along democratic socialist lines [Quote] “…It adopted a costly social welfare programme and nationalized a number of enterprises, causing the flight of financial and human capital. To balance its growing budget, the government imposed a bauxite levy that accelerated the decline of the industry. The legacy of this period was a heavily indebted economy, saddled with inefficient government enterprises and shackled by import, price, and credit controls…” [End Quote].

2.4 The JLP Administration, 1980‐1989
Mr. Speaker, it was left to the Government of the Jamaica Labour Party that came into power in 1980, under the leadership of the Most Hon. Edward Seaga to revitalize the economy and to put it once again on a sound financial footing.

Mr. Seaga, himself, points out in his June 2007 article that he did not present a plan in the 1980s until 1988. The reason for this he explained is [Quote] “…because of the need to steer the country through a mid‐term international depression, the worst in 50 years, which would have destroyed any plan, anyway. After overcoming that period and restoring the economy to a path of growth, it was time to prepare the Social Well‐Being Plan and the Going for Growth Plan for the economy. These were tabled in 1988. But they never saw the light of day [although] all the financing was identified, because the government changed in 1989…” [End Quote]

Those few words do not do justice, however, to the important contribution that has been made over the years by Edward Seaga in terms of public policy formulation and insttutional building in this country. He has left a tremendous legacy for this nation in the development of lasting institutions and legislation across the entire overnance structure. There is much that we could learn from this man. For example, it is instructive to note that his concept of joined up government linked relevant state agencies and ministries spanning bothsocial and economic spheres, because he recognized the fact that both were necessary to have true development.

Mr. Speaker, I wish to propose that this Parliament find a fitting tribute to pay to this iconic Jamaican whose work promoted development bth institutionally and in the Jamaicanisation of many foreign‐owned industries. It would be appropriate when so many entities and industries that were once majority‐owned by Jamaicans are again foreign‐owned, to reflect on the work of this great man and pay him due respect.

It is a concept that our Prime Minister, Bruce Golding understands and believes in and is taking to a “higher level”.

2.5 The PNP Administration, 1989‐2007
Mr. Speaker, returning to an assessment of the historical precedents that focused on development planning in this country, in relation to the period from 1989‐2007, under successive PNP administrations, major public policy initiatives for the most part were vested in stand‐alone projects or programmes. It can be argued that none of these initiatives were sufficiently holistic and therefore, would be considered less effective in successfully addressing and assuring sustainability in dealing with the developmental chllenges faced by the nation.

The National Industrial Policy, an initiative of the Patterson Administration of the 1990s represented the only recent attempt, since the Five Year Plans of the 1960s to the 1980s, to bring a degree of coordination and integration to public policy addressing developmental issues. Consultation in developing this plan was quite widespread. However, this seemingly worthwhile initiative to coordinate and integrate several and, in many instances, separate and discrete policy initiatives again failed. That outcome could have been attributed to the fact that the implementation arrangements and support mechanisms were not satifactorily synchronistic, thereby proving to be less than complementary and effective from the vantage point of socio‐economic impact.

Dr. Omar Davies, the former Minister of Finance and Planning, for over fourteen years, adopted a policy of presenting rolling three‐year macro‐economic projections in each of his annual Budget Presentations. The idea, Mr. Speaker, was to focus on year one almost exclusively. The following year, the second year projections will become year one, year three will become year two, and a new year three will be prepared.

But what was the reality, Mr. Speaker? The reality was that every year Dr. Davies presented these projections, but none of these targets were ever met – they were simply flights of fantasy. Year after year we were promised economic growth of 3 to 3.5 percent and fiscal discipline, but what was the outcome, Mr. Speaker? Dismal growth and fiscal indiscipline!

3.0 THE GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT

Mr. Speaker, the expanding global network in which most economies have become inevitably enveloped and which determines their respective copetitive frameworks represents a fact of life for Jamaica. And there are a number of aspects of this globalization that are impacting negatively on our economy at present. For example, the current rising oil prices and the global food crisis are having a significant impact on most nations across the globe – developed and developing states alike. We are all being buffeted by the rapid upward movement in oil and food prices without any tangible indication of possible sigificant reductions in these prices in the near term.

Of equal importance also is the fact that as a small island‐state with substantial levels of economic dependence on natural resources, which are themselves subject to hazards such as hurricanes, earthquakes, droughts and other natural vicissitudes, there is the requirement here in Jamaica for enlightened long‐term planning to address issues that have implications for economic growth and development. Critical issues include global warming, coastal management, agriculture, energy conservation and human settlements. It therefore makes it imperative that, as a country, we develop structured institutional and organizational management mechanisms that anticipate, incubate, foster and inform public policy initiatives, which are synchronous with the various global and other developmental challenges faced. Such mechanisms should also serve to inform Jamaica’s international policy positions.

This contemporary global dispensation also demands very high levels of accountability whereby strategic policy goals are clearl defined, implementation options established and progress in respect of goal‐specific outcomes effectively monitored. Expected or targeted outcomes cannot be based on speculation and/or conjecture. There is the very obvious need, therefore, for the Government to urgently initiate a process that seeks to recover lost ground in regard to the development, promulgation and monitoring of public policy to address the several challenges confronting the economic and social developmentof the country.

Effectiveness of national policy implementation over time also requires the establishment of a sustainable knowledge‐based institutional and administrative framework that is grounded on a scientific and technological foundation and reflective o the particular experiences and challenges faced by the society.

4.0 JAMAICA 2030 – NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN

Mr. Speaker, it is within this context that our Administration, led by the Honourable Bruce Golding, has embraced Jamaica 2030 – a 25‐year National Development Plan geared at positioning the country to achieve developed country status by the year 2030. This is something that we are committed to and intend to see that the plan is adhered to and achieved under our watch.

The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) in its role as the lead agency for this undertaking will facilitate a comprehensive consultative process with broad‐based support across every strata of the Jamaican society, incorporating the support particularly among private sector groups, civil society and in the Diaspora. Initially, a Plan Advisory Group (PAG) consisting of industry leaders, academia, leaders from various sectors, and a number of task forces, each comprising experts in the respective fields, charged with the development of sector strategic plans, are supporting the work of the PIOJ.

A draft plan will be tabled in the House shortly, following which there will be island‐wide consultations prior to its finalisation.

Mr. Speaker, the PIOJ now falls under the Office of the Prime Minister – a move that was made by Prime Minister Golding to underscore the importance of the planning and development process to our admnistration. In terms of the preparation and implementation of the ‘Vision 2030’ Plan, we have taken on board the fact, Mr. Speaker, that the major weaknesses of the development plans that were prepared by previous administrations were:

    The previous plans were primarily short term in horizon, and thus not strategically focused on long‐term development.
    In addition, the plans did not necessarily capture crosscutting linkages among strategic policy goals and weak synergies existed between tagets, indicators, and budget.
    There was lack of timely and adequate resources to support implementation.
    There was also a lack of an effective implementation and monitoring framework so that the essential elements of inter‐departmental and inter‐agency coordination needed to achieve efficiencies in implementation were not fostered with results/outcomes therefore becoming invariably ineffectual and/or costly to implement.
    Any objective assessment of the annual Auditor General’s & Contractor General’s reports over the last 18 years will attest to the culture of significant cost overruns, excessive time delays and bureaucratic empire building throughout the public sector.
    There was limited buy‐in and ownership by the society.
    There was limited involvement by non‐state actors resulting in their non‐ownership of the process.

Vision 2030 will benefit from the lessons of the past by adopting a monitoring and implementation framework, with established indicators and targets. It represents a revised approach to the development of public policy, which seeks to correct these weaknesses and also establish institutional arrangements that cater to ongoing research for suppot of the formulation and development processes. The revised approach will also seek to cultivate a culture of inclusiveness with respect to broad‐based stakeholders’ involvement, positioning Jamaicans at the centre of the policy formulation process and fostering their full engagement or buy‐in to achieve effective and efficient implementation. The plan is based on the following guiding principles:

    Jamaica’s transformation must have people at the centre of its development.
    Transformation should be directed by an overarching vision of the society, buttressed by strong, extraordinary leadership and guided by a cohesive and comprehensive development plan.
    Sustainable – integrating economic, social and environmental issues.
    Foster balanced development in rural, urban and regional areas.
    Equity – ensuring that the plan facilitates equality of opportunity and equal rights.
    Social cohesion and partnerships.

5.0 MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS

Mr. Speaker, the plan is also cognizant of the need to fulfill the UN Millennium Development Goals. Jamaica, as a signatory to the UN Millennium Declaration, is committed to doing its part in a new global partnership to reduce extreme poverty in all its dimensions.

The Declaration sets out a series of targets to be achieved by 2015, which have become known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The eight MDGs are:

MDG #1: Eradicate Extreme Hunger and Poverty

MDG #2: Achieve Universal Primary Education

MDG #3: Promote Gender Equality & Empower Women

MDG #4: Reduce Child Mortality

MDG #5: Improve Maternal Health

MDG #6: Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria & Other Diseases

MDG #7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability

MDG #8: Develop a Global Partnership for Development

Mr. Speaker, I will not present a status report on Jamaica’s progress re meeting these targets – I will leave this to the members of the Cabinet with lead responsibility for the various subject areas. In fact, the Honourable Rudyard Spencer, Minister of Health and Environment, in his Sectoral Debate presentation on June 3, 2008, gave a detailed statement on Jamaica’s progress to date in meeting the five health‐related MDGs. Likewise, I expect that Honourable Andrew Holness, and Honourable Olivia “Babsy” Grange will update this Honourable House on the progress that we have made towards meeting the other MDGs at a later date.

Instead, Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a few comments about eradicating poverty. It is a fact that poverty affects half the world’s population, and this is spreading. We can expect that with the current world food and oil crises that the situation will only get worse. The Millennium Development Goals speak to things such as providing access to education, water and sanitation, access to resources, reduction of debt, the fight against HIV/AIDS, empowerment, gender equity etc. In other words, we are speaking about reducing inequalities between the haves and the have‐nots.

Mr. Pierre Sane, Assistant Director General of UNESCO for Social & Human Sciences, in a recent address to a Seminar on the Cost of Poverty in the Caribbean, held here in Kingston in March 2008 noted that [Quote] “… nearly three billion people receive only about 1.2% of world income, while one billion people in the rich countries receive 80%. An annual income transfer of 1% from one group to the other would suffice to eliminate extreme poverty. In fact, the transfer continues to operate in the opposite direction, despite efforts towards debt reduction and development aid…” [End Quote]

Mr. Speaker, we need to remain committed as a Government and as a nation to meeting the Millennium Development Goals. We have to make every effort to reduce the gap between the haves and the have‐nots – this is at the heart of the crime situation in Jamaica today. Systematic approaches need to be put in place to fill the capacity gaps at the policy level, community level and family level. Our administration remains committed to providing strong and effective leadership in this regard and this is finding new exprssion in the work of the National Monitoring Board.

6.0 THE NATIONAL MONITORING BOARD

Mr. Speaker, this body is an outcome of the historic National Planning Summit, which was held last November under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister, and presented perhaps the first truly multi‐sectoral meeting of minds in our history on the way forward. I am proud to have helped convene this meeting which has laid out a suite of priority areas that I think are key to Jamaica’sfuture progress.

Led by one of our finest technocrats, Mrs. Sancia Templar, Head of the Programme Management Office (PMO) at the OPM, the Monitoring Board includes some of the leading lights in Jamaica’s private sector and is chaired by the Member for North Cetral St. Andrew, the Hon. Karl Samuda, Minister of Industry, Investment & Commerce. The Board is focusing on a number of key goals and objectives. These include:

    Developing Kingston as a major distribution/logistics/free zone hub (also potential of waterfront development)
    Completing preparatory work towards developing Jamaica as an International Financial Centre
    Providing the requisite support for the establishment of a “one‐stop shop” for development approvals
    Reforming the country’s tax system
    Balancing the budget; and
    Addressing crime and violence.

These goals, Mr. Speaker, are the outcome of the most rigorous analysis of what constitutes Jamaica’s best possible options, developed in the context of a logical planning framework that intersects and supports the overall strategic framework of this dministration in the creation of Vision 2030 as a national development plan, developed by the PIOJ. As mentioned previously, this plan with its 25‐year horizon, is meant to position Jamaica among the world’s rich countries. This project is being funded by the Caribbean Development Bank to the tune of US$244.7 million and contains a number of strategic policy options geared at optimizing growth and development in various sectors f the Jamaican economy.

These six priority areas are the key ones from some 15 identified out of a total of 50 initiatives earmarked that should lead t the realization of the desired goals. For each goal, specific objectives, critical success factors and barriers, strategic initiatives and priorities were identified, along with clear deliverables and broad timelines.

The PMO will be responsible for monitoring all the initiatives and will also support, where necessary, the various relevant projects including the completion of those that are already being implemented in various ministries and aencies of the public sector.

Mr. Speaker, we on this side of the House are putting the measures in place to ensure a prosperous future for this country. We are building it, and we know, they will come!

However, Mr. Speaker, none of our goals can be met if there is not the appropriate framework of a proper Planning and Development Ministry to give te necessary strategic and operational direction to a subject area that by its very nature cuts across sectors, agencies and other ministries.

Unlike earlier attempts at Development Ministries under the previous PNP administration, guided by Dr. Paul Robertson, Mr. Collin Campbell and most recently Mr. Donald Buchanan, respectively, where a range of projects were conceptualized and in the main died of stillbirth, under our watch this Ministry will focus on the fostering of all‐ sector and cross‐sector linkages which should result in a broadening and deepening of the developmental effort.

This country needs to grow up, Mr. Speaker, and this thrust is one signal effort to ensure that Jamaica behaves like a mature adult. One of the signs of our persistent immaturity over the years has been our inability for the most part to ensure continuity ingovernance. The tendency to abandon entire developmental frameworks or substantial parts due to a change of political regime is one such anifestation, influenced by an antiquated political culture which abhors in the main, the adoption of initiatives proposed by the political opposition.

These problems, which include:

    A lack of consistent and coherent implementation strategies from plan formulation to implementation and evaluation.
    A lack of plan credibility, with plans tending to be more grounded in the realm of political fantasy, rather than economic reality and credible assumptions.
    Flawed statistical base data, which render projections there from to be meaningless.
    Inter‐ and intra‐agency conflict, where the lack of ownership of a project can escalate into scenarios where agencies are less than co‐operative and tend to stymie the developmental exercise, often accompanied by bruising ego contests.

Optimally, Mr. Speaker, the planning and development process has to be more responsive to the dynamics of the global economy, socio‐economic and cultural changes and the strong local and international commitment to poverty alleviation and the fight against HI/AIDS, among other aims, in our drive to achieve more developed country status by the year 2030. As such, it must be led and directed by a Ministry equipped with the right capacities.

7.0 OUTLINE OF THE PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT MINISTRY

Mr. Speaker, this Bruce Golding‐led Ministry, the Office of the Prime Minister, will effectively use the resources that have been allocated to it to drive the Planning and Development of our nation, our functions include:

    Originating, coordinating and monitoring the public policy framework in collaboration with the relevant agencies to inform scientific, economic and social development policy stakeholders.
    Monitoring the allocation of financial resources to ensure that such expenditure is in accord with agreed developmental priorites.
    Evaluating the impact of national plans, programmes and projects.•Analyzing sectoral policies, plans and programmes to ensure consistency with national development goals.
    Coordinating a comprehensive and accepted regional planning policy framework.
    Coordinating in conjunction with other stakeholders, the development of a participatory and transparent planning process guided by modern planning legislation.
    Coordinating necessary social and economic research required for the formulation of policies and strategies for national develoment that is grounded on a scientific and technological foundation and reflective of the particular experiences and challenges aced by the society.
    Coordinating the Project Cycle Management System including pre‐selection and project prioritization functions.
    Preparing, monitoring, facilitating implementation and reviewing the Public Sector Investment Programme in conjunction with the Ministry of Finance.
    Coordinating and monitoring the implementation of the National Population Policy.
    Coordinating the development of the country’s manpower resources.
    Facilitating the implementation of urban development plans, programmes and projects.
    Creation of a Strategic Policy Research and Development Centre which will collaborate with the National Commission on Science & Technology (NCST) and its oversight/executing agencies to develop the requisite synergies between public sector, academic and commercial research to guide and facilitate development of meaningful and practical policies and strategies for dvelopment.
    Co‐coordinating the development of the policy framework to establish Kingston as a choice location for offshore financial servicesin collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Jamaica. Ideally this will be sited in downtown Kingston as part of the regional planning thrust.
    Carry out all functions related to or pertaining to the legal mandate of the Ministry of Planning and Development.

Mr. Speaker plans are already far advanced to develop the requisite legislative, institutional and operational requirements to facilitate the development of the Ministry and I will say more about this in the course of time. Along with the development of core divisions that will coordinate urban and regional planning, socio‐economic development, project development and strategic development, the Ministry will work closely with core development agencies such as the Urban Development Corporation (UDC), the HEART/NTA, Jamaica Trade and Invest, the Scientific Research Council (SRC), the National Environment & Planning Agency (NEPA), the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR), the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN), the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), as well as entities such as the Ex‐Im Bank, JSIF, and CHASE.

The Office of the Prime Minister will also work closely with other key Ministries in developing national approaches to policy frmulation in the following areas:

    Foreign Economic (bilateral and multilateral) arrangements
    Investment Promotion
    Water Security and Sanitation
    Public Health and Environmental Policy
    Disaster Anticipation, Mitigation & Risk Management
    Shelter/Housing Policy
    Sports Development Policy
    Economic Stabilization (Prices and Incomes) Policy
    Crime Mitigation and Containment Strategies

Mr. Speaker, this is representative of our bold and forthright approach to development, and our belief in continuity and purpose. Unlike the past when national development plans were developed for periods of five years or were just reflective of the priorties and thinking of one political administration, the approach guiding Vision 2030 is a national and bi‐partisan one that is geared towards engendering a shift away from a top‐down to a bottom‐up approach.

But, Mr. Speaker, we have only just begun. I would like to take this opportunity to highlight a significant development, which the Office of the Prime Minister has been working on and about which a policy position is currently being fine‐tuned. I speak of an approach to the delivery of public infrastructure or basic services using private sector entities – Public Private Partnerships, or PPPs.

8.0 THE DEVELOPMENT OF PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS IN INFRASTRUCTURE AS A DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY FOR JAMAICA

Various studies, including those of the Commonwealth Business Council have identified the need for infrastructure as the most pressing requiremnt in developing countries such as Jamaica. One viable option to financing infrastructural development is the use of PPPs. The basic concept of a Public Private Partnership is a contractual arrangement between public and private sector parties for te delivery of infrastructure or basic services. The benefits of the PPP model are that project‐related risks including technical performance, market and financial risks are transferred to a greater extent to the private entity. Contract payments are usually structured in such a way that the public authority and/or users pay only for services rendered and not for assets provided, user fees, subsidies, donor funding etc. In addition, political, regulatory and foreign exchange risks are allocated to the party(ies) best suited to deal with them – government, international financial institutions and private insurers.

This concept is not a new one in Jamaica – indeed, the development of the Highway 2000 Toll Road is an example of a type of PPP. However, what we are proposing is that as a country we should place greater emphasis on the use of PPPs as a financing mechanism of infastructural projects. In order to accomplish this we need to put in place a formal, structured institutional framework set up in the Ministry of Planning & Development dedicated to the delivery of PPPs in Jamaica.

Mr. Speaker, it might be instructive to give a short historical perspective on the worldwide popularity of the use of PPPs. Public Private Partnerships like most economic initiatives today are not new public policy options. In the 16th and 17th centuries canals were built by the private sector and water was collected and distributed under concessin. By 1820 there were six private water companies operating in London. In France several roads and bridges were concessioned for toll in return for maintaining the roadway. Private partnerships in the USA, France, Argentina and Britain built many of the railways and electricity systems in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Since 1990 there has been a growing popularity re the use of PPPs. Governments in developing and developed countries are using PPP arrangements to fast track the delivery of infrastructure serices such as railways; ports; airports; toll roads and bridges; waste management and water treatment plants; electricity generating plants; telecommunications networks and urban mass transport systems. In countries like the UK and New Zealand, PPPs have even been exported to social infrastructure sector such as education and schools buildings, hospitals, health clinics and even prisons. In fact, PPPs have become the preferred method for public procurement of infrastructure facilities and services throughout the world inthe 21st century.

Why Mr. Speaker? Simply, there are severe limitations re financial and managerial resources to meet the growing demand for infrastructure services. Governments are increasingly constrained in mobilizing the required financial and technical resources and in providing the excutive capacity to cope with the rising demand for sewerage, electricity supply, solid waste system, hospitals, road and bridges. Rapid urbanization and increasing population and citizen’s pressure for higher standards of living have compounded the proble.

Mr. Speaker, we too in Jamaica need to repair and build roads, bridges, hospitals and schools, etc. We need to develop renewable energy sources on a large scale. Traditionally, such projects have been undertaken by the Government with funding support from international multilateral sources such as the orld Bank. However, often the government‐led model has not delivered the kinds of outputs desired. Of course public sector funding will remain central to infrastructural development in Jamaica. But let us not fool ourselves, it will not be enough! We also need to mobilize private capital to supplement public resources.

8.1 PPPs and Jamaica’s Current Economic Situation
While the infrastructure gap in Jamaica is growing, Mr. Speaker, the Government’s budgetary resources are increasingly constrained in financing the fiscal deficit. Jamaica is probably in the most difficult position in the world today. Only Lebanon in the entire world has more debt in terms of debt to gross domestic product. Our debt to DGP ratio now stands at 130% and this after coming down from 150%. Mr. Speaker, anything over 60 % is considered abnormal.

Infrastructure shortages are proving to be the leading binding constraint in sustaining, deepening and expanding Jamaica’s economic growth and its competitiveness. Infrastructure shortages in transport, electricity/energy, water and other areas are probably costing Jamaica 2% growth in GDP annually. Infrastructure is now seen as the necessary condition for growth and poverty alleviation. Indeed, Mr. Speaker, studies by the Asian Development Bank show that there is a strong linkage between infrastructure investments, economic growth and the reduction in extreme poverty.

But the financing of infrastructure investments using public resources has to compete with the pressing needs for additional reources in the other sectors of the economy. Coming out of the previous PNP administration the public sector is currently not in a position to take on any more debt, even if a public sector enterprise could finance the debt costs from revenue sources. Mr. Speaker, public enterprise debt is still Government of Jamaica debt. Rising costs of maintaining and operating existing assets like Air Jamaica, the Jamaica Urban Transit Company, the Sugar Company of Jamaica and National Water Commission do not allow the Jamaican Government to make the required public inestments to upgrade the infrastructure assets and grow the economy at the rate of 5%, as we would wish. Thanks to Chancellor Omar!

In addition, Mr. Speaker, the development model of the past involving privileged markets for our agricultural products and industrialization by invitatin – protected markets – is increasingly becoming less available to us. In today’s world we have to survive and compete in a market/private sector driven globalized environment. Any other thinking is romanticizing the harsh realities facing this nation.

Recently I had the opportunity to look at the impact of liberalization of the services sector in Jamaica since 1990 and discoveed some startling results which should be a guide to further development. Services now contribute some 70% of GDP and 65% of foreign exchange earnings, up from 50% within the past 15 years. The record shows that we have strong competition in telecommunications, financial services and tourism, and there is great potential in areas such as cultural industries – music in particular – to fully tap the vast talent pool resident in Jamaica.

We have to focus on the future. In this regard, the other area of the economy where there is tremendous untapped potential is the agricultural sector. With the current food crisis and the worldwide demand for renewable energy sources, there is a completely new paradigm in agriculture and Jamaica must equip itself to deal with the impact of these changes. I know that my colleague Minister of Agriculture, Dr. the Hon. Chris Tufton is taking the lead in developing new technologies. Mr. Speaker we can learn much, for example, from a country like Kenya which is now one of the largest exporters of cut flowers using fully computerized and mechanized sysems under greenhouse conditions that take them by conveyor belt right up to the aircraft to markets in Europe.

In our present scenario, therefore, with competing needs for increasingly scare financial resources in the public sector, the use of the PPP model is particularly relevant to Jamaica for possible Greenfield investments in infrastructure and the delvery of basic services.

8.2 Need for a PPP Implementation Unit in the Ministry of Planning & Development
The absence of a PPP Implementation Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister’s Planning and Development portfolio is one of theinstitutional impediments that we need to overcome if we intend to secure increased investments in infrastructure in Jamaica:

    The development of a PPP planning framework and the establishment the PPP Implementation Unit would provide a clear legal suppotive framework.
    The role of the Unit would be the development and design of infrastructure policies, establishing procurement procedures, establishing the rules of the game and enforcing such rules transparently.
    This would demonstrate the Government’s commitment to private sector‐led investments in infrastructure, even extending to social infrastructure, such as hospitals and schools. The role of the private sector would be that of capital financing (debt and equity), construction and operation of facilities and operation of services where the concession so provides.
    The establishment of the PPP Implementation Unit would provide for prioritizing amongst the most promising infrastructure and/or basic services projects.
    It would provide a coordinating entity within government to support infrastructure investments across ministries.
    It would facilitate the development of specialist skills in risk management and allocation.
    It would facilitate a clear policy for implementing PPP projects and this would bolster confidence to attract private investors(foreign and local) and commercial lenders.

Mr. Speaker, all Ministries and the relevant state agencies would have to make their input so as to eventually ensure that the PPP Implemenation Unit is established within a reasonable time frame. Priority attention would then be given to developing a set of PPP projects particularly in transportation infrastructure and he health sector. We also expect to work with the Finance Ministry to tap the resources of the PPP Facility managed by the World Bank and to se up the necessary legislative framework to prepare the potential project list.

In that process there will be full collaboration with entities such as the PIOJ, Jamaica Trade and Invest and STATIN.

We will also explore whether it is possible to obtain grant financing from the Public Private Infrastructure Finance Facility (PPIAF), which is managed by the World Bank to set up the legislative and institutional framework in Jamaica.

8.3 Priority Development Areas that could benefit from PPPs
The Office of the Prime Minister is currently exploring a few priority development areas that we believe could be financed usin the PPP model:

    Physical Infrastructure – roads, bridges etc.
    Health Tourism ‐ the new institutional framework involving foreign and local partners (Jamaica’s location and tourism infrastructure are ideally suited for this growing service sector)
    IT/ Telecommunications – Jamaica has a competitive advantage compared to countries like India (English‐speaking, proximity to North America etc.) which currently generates 70% of global IT resources
    Energy projects ‐ making use of our considerable renewable energy resources
    Non‐bauxite minerals such as limestone – Jamaica possesses ample supplies (country covered in limestone) of this valuable resource. In fact , our limestone is of the highest quality with vast potential for value‐added industries – tiles, adhesives, household goods, etc. We are current exporting limestone to Florida – imagine how much more we could earn.

8.3.1 Cemex Investment in Clarendon
Just recently, Mr. Speaker, it was announced that a major Mexican conglomerate Cemex plans to invest US$300 million (J$21.4 billion) in a port facility on the southern coast of Clarendon to stockpile and export limestone. The planned investment will be tied to the expansion of Chemical Lime Company's (CLC's) Brazilletto Quarry located in Tarentum, Clarendon, from its current two million tonne per year operations to 12 million tonnes of limestone a year. Through its Jamaican subsidiary, Rinker Jamaica, Cemex plans to construct the port adjoining Jamalco's existing Rocky Point Port along with a stockpile area to export washed, crushed, and sized limestone. Limestone in excess of present production will be exported to North and South America.

The proposed project, has been submitted to NEPA for an evaluation of its Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), and includes the construction of a transportation corridor linking the port to the existing quarry through a hooded conveyor blt from the port to the quarry. This is development, Mr. Speaker!

8.3.2 Regional Free Zones
Mr. Speaker, another concept that we are currently working on is that of Regional Free Zones, utilizing the PPP model and built around the idea of strategic groupings of Parish Free Zones with product specialization. This is something that could perhaps be of benefit to my own constituency. I will provide this Honourable House will further details on this proposal in the very near future.

9.0DEVELOPMENTAL WORK AT STATIN

Mr. Speaker, the Office of the Prime Minister has been paying special attention to the work of the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN). In many ways, this Institute had been an unsung hero in terms of the collection, processing and delivery of our National Statistics. Despite any perceived shortcomings, in the face of resource constraints and challenges to its data integrity which have been made by some persons, including Members of this Honourable House, such as the esteemed Member from Central Clarendon, the data collection methodology and analytical capabilities of STATIN are held in the highest regard internationally, including by the major multilateral institutions.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Board, the Director General, Miss Sonia Jackson, and the Management and staff of the Institute for their continued dedication, professional integrity and attention to detail in the provision of our national statistical data.

I should also like to indicate to this Honourable House that in terms of developmental work STATIN is currently undertaking a nmber of major initiatives as part of the modernisation process. These initiatives include the following:

1: Updating the System of National Accounts to the System of National Accounts 1993
Effective July 2008 it is anticipated that the Quarterly GDP at constant prices and the Annual GDP at current prices estimates which are currently prepared using the SNA 1968 methodology) will be released using the SNA 1993 methodology

2: The compilation of the Tourism Satellite Accounts (TSA) as a part of the revision of the national accounts system
This work is ongoing. STATIN is currently conducting two household surveys to measure domestic consumption and expenditure. The release of the TSA statistics will be done in March 2009.

3: The upgrading of the Information Technology infrastructure with the implementation of a Data Management System (DMS)
The DMS is being coded at present and is scheduled for completion by the end of September 2008. The current DMS includes 5 of the 6 core areas of operation – the 6th system is being designed and is scheduled for completion in October 2008.

4: Legal reform – a review of the Statistics Act
The current Act needs to be strengthened to include the coordination mechanism. Cabinet approved the White Paper and it was tabled in this Honourable House on May 28, 2007. Work needs to be started with the various Ministries, and Agencies in strengthening their statistical capacities.

5: The implementation of a Quality Management System (QMS) leading to ISO Certification
Attention needs to be paid at this time to quality issues in the processes as well as the statistical products themselves. The QMS will also complement the DMS in removing redundancies from the system. STATIN is working towards a registration date of November 2008.

6: Organisational Restructuring
The present organisation structure and the existing technical staff complement cannot efficiently carry out the work load of th Institute. Preliminary approval has been obtained for the restructuring to be done – in this regard an effort is being made to identify the required technical and financial resources in the shortest possible tim.

10.0 CONCLUDING REMARKS

In closing, Mr. Speaker, I would like to reiterate that, from the perspective of this Bruce Golding‐led administration, despite the serious challenges facing our beloved nation, including the difficult and troubling crime situation, and the global oil and food crises, there are several opportunities available for us to right the ship of state.

For several years we have known that we were losing preferential arrangements for our traditional exports whose industries are ot equipped to compete competitively in the new globalized environment, yet we did very little.

We have known for years that we needed to retool industries and upgrade our labour force skills, yet we did very little. We have continued to “fiddle while Rome burned.”

However, Mr. Speaker, the time for fiddling is over. It is over because for the first in a long time we are developing a dedicated vehicle for planning and development in this contry. It is action time now!

It is action time because we finally have a ‘Driver’ in place! A Driver who has recognized that it is not enough to have planning and development as mere appendages to a Super Ministry, tacked on to the Ministry of Finance or some other portfolio.

We have a Prime Minister whose steady hands and inspired leadership is guiding this country through some of the roughest watersever experienced in Jamaica’s contemporary history. In this context he understands the importance of holistic, coordinated national public policy formulation and development.

Our administration sees planning and development as being central to the attainment of economic success, and unlike our colleagues on the other side of this esteemed House, we are in a hurray to get the job done! Like our track athletes, we are sprinters and we are taking the same approach to our task of promoting development so that progress will come to this gneration, not in some vague distant future!

Mr. Speaker, it takes boldness and clear thinking to make progress. We are not just about generating ideas. We are walking the walk. We are delivering on our commitments:

    We are facilitating the development of a number of boutique hotels – bold action!
    My colleague Minister from West Portland outlined earlier in the Debate that we are pulling together the relevant agencies to dsign a Jetport on sugar lands in Duckensfield to facilitate the expansion of high‐end tourism ‐ bold action!
    We are expanding the road network across the island – bold action!
    We have delivered on our commitment to free education – bold action!
    We have delivered free health care in public hospitals – bold action!
    We have delivered on our commitment to establish a Constituency Development Fund so that the people’s representatives can respod to the needs of their constituents regardless of political coloration – bold action!
    We have increased the Minimum Wage by 16 per cent – bold action!
    In my own constituency, Mr. Speaker, we have been driving the completion of the Yallahs Bridge ‐‐ linking communities, and opening up development. We have opened the first of several planned agro‐canning factories, providing employment opportunities and markets for our farmers – bold action!

Mr. Speaker we, on this side, run things, tings nuh run we!

Action, not a bag a mout.

May God continue to bless all of our people, and our beloved nation, Jamaica, land we love.

I thank you.

 

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