Fri | Dec 9, 2016

Holness: JLP administration will restore junior stock market incentives

Published:Friday | January 23, 2015 | 12:00 PM

Opposition Leader Andrew Holness says Government appears clueless in ensuring growth-induced development for Jamaica.
He was also emphatic that government has a pivotal role to play when it comes to spurring economic growth as a participant in the development of infrastructure, and managing the public service and regulatory environment.
“Government has an important role to play in growth particularly in a small open economy,” said Holness Thursday on day three of the 10 annual Regional Investment and Capital Markets Conference hosted by the Jamaica Stock Exchange, from January 20-22.
“Government also has a role as a market-maker. We have too many markets in the Jamaican economy that are not functioning. There are too many opportunities where you have people who could provide service and people who need service; people who could innovate; people who could make products that are not happening. It probably won’t happen until the government acts as a catalyst and a stimulator,” the Opposition Leader said.
He accused the Simpson Miller administration of reneging on or misunderstanding its responsibility while highlighting this as an important policy divergence between government and the opposition.
He declared that a JLP government would never have removed the incentives attached to capital formation on the junior market of the JSE. Pressed for specifics he vowed that a future JLP government would fully restore the incentive scheme.
The scheme initially offered 10 years of tax breaks to new junior market listings, but the Government has cut the tax holiday to five years and has set a schedule to phase out the incentives by 2021.
Holness charged that the government was misunderstanding its role in what is needed for Jamaica to move forward, and that a future JLP Cabinet will include a minister with specific responsibility for knowledge and growth.
The additional portfolio should cause no tension or impinge on the Ministry of Finance as the function could reside in a range of ministries including industry and commerce or even the Office of the Prime Minister itself.

neville.graham@gleanerjm.com