Tue | May 23, 2017

Inclusive growth vital to avert social tensions

Published:Wednesday | December 3, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Minister of Finance Dr Peter Phillips File

Finance and Planning minister, Dr Peter Phillips said equitable distribution of resources in Jamaica will only materialize when the economy begins to record socially inclusive growth.

That means growth that is not only sustained over time, but brings into the country's economic framework "those sections of the population that have been historically excluded", he said.

Dr Phillips said that would only be realised if, among other things, more local businesses and investors help entrepreneurs, particularly those in the micro, small and medium-sized enterprise sector to access financing through sources, such as venture capital options.

Anything short of that would "create tremendous social tensions which will, in turn, become a drag on our capacity to sustain high rates of growth", the minister told participants at a business conference in downtown Kingston recently.

While noting early successes under the Jamaica Government's economic reform programme, with the International Monetary Fund, which primarily targets growth, Dr Phillips said sustained growth requires continued focus on fiscal discipline.

Flexible Process

"Sustained growth is going to require an economy and a national decision-making process that is flexible, that is adept, that is able to move at the pace of the global economy, and that is able to be innovative," he added.

He pointed out that the foundation has been laid for creating this type of economy, but emphasised that much more needs to be done.

According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. "Tackling inequalities in incomes, health outcomes, education and well-being1 requires breaking down the barriers to inclusive growth and reaching new frontiers in policymaking and implementation."

It added, "Everyone should be able to realise their potential and to share the benefits of growth and increased prosperity."

Inclusive growth approach takes a longer-term perspective as the focus is on productive employment as a means of increasing the incomes of poor and excluded groups and raising their standards of living, according to the World Bank.

- M.T.

business@gleanerjm.com