PNP: Government failing to deliver growth and prosperity
The fall in Jamaica's ranking from 72 to 80, out of 161 countries, in the Forbes Best Countries for Business 2018 report is being labelled by the People's National Party (PNP) as "yet another indication that the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Government cannot deliver sustained and inclusive economic growth and national prosperity".
In a release yesterday, Mark Golding, opposition spokesman on finance and planning, said: "This is just the latest of several objective international indicators showing that the Government is not addressing the bureaucratic and structural weaknesses that are holding back the country's economy."
Golding said that the Forbes rating continues a negative trend, with Jamaica's ranking having also fallen for three consecutive years in the World Bank's Doing Business Report, from 65th in 2016 to 67th in 2017, then slipping further to 70th in 2018, and then falling again to 75th in the recently released 2019 report.
He noted that this negative performance was further underscored by Jamaica having lost its position as the highest-rated Caribbean island in the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report, slipping to 79th position from the 70th-place position it held last year.
"The Government's inability to drive effective growth-inducing reforms to improve Jamaica's business climate is clearly having sustained negative consequences for Jamaica's international competitiveness," Golding said.
Fall in GDP growth
"This is also contributing to the fall in the rate of GDP growth, from 2.2 per cent in the second quarter of 2018 down to 1.8 per cent in the third quarter, another disappointing outcome."
He added: "They inherited an economy that was turned around by immense national sacrifice and focused, competent government. But despite all the 'prosperity' hype, what we are in fact witnessing is their failure to tackle the causes of economic underperformance."
He said that the "monolithic Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation has become a contributor to the country's low-growth problem" and that Prime Minister Andrew Holness "must restructure his Government and decentralise the excessively concentrated executive authority".
Said Golding: "The current nebulous arrangements in that ministry have failed to provide adequate ministerial attention to, and clear lines of accountability for, the bureaucratic and structural impediments that are retarding Jamaica's economic growth.
"There is no more time to waste. Jamaica is clearly falling behind in global competitiveness, to the detriment of our people."