Tue | May 23, 2017

Reducing public sector will create more unemployed

Published:Monday | September 28, 2015 | 9:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

In a recent article, the new World Bank country manager, Galina Sotirova, said, "Very few believed Jamaica would have made the progress it has in the last three years in reducing its debt to gross domestic product (GDP) rate."

However, she stressed that the unemployment rate of the country needs to decrease and that Jamaica may need to face some undesirable options to meet the desired public sector wage bill target of nine per cent of GDP.

This is the quagmire often faced by developing countries relying on International Monetary Fund (IMF) support.

How do we decrease unemployment if one of the first measures with which we are confronted is reducing the wage bill of the public sector?

Reduction of public sector employees undeniably means redundancies which will result in an increase in unemployment. The other measure is always an increase in taxes to up the government revenue.

Can the already burdened and overstretched Jamaican population deal with an increase in taxes? Immediately the French Revolution of 1789 comes to mind - 'increased taxation without representation'. Surely, we all know how that ended. A bloody revolution.

The question the government must be asked is, how can we emulate the success and prosperity of more prosperous countries?

Here is what I think. Heavily tax goods produced outside of Jamaica and CARICOM. Countries like the UK and China do it. It drives the consumption and production of locally produced goods and services and it protects the viability of domestic brands.

Legalise marijuana and create a viable sector for the development and export of medicinal marijuana and its by-products. Glaucoma and/or related visual impairment disorders affects an estimated 60.5 million people globally. Why are we not involved in this area of science and technology when we are perfectly capable of doing so?

Increase air travel links to Jamaica from other non-US cities. It's time we expand our reach and depth outside of the US travel market.

Karim R. Porter

karimporter@hotmail.com