Having tried his hand at several successful business ventures, 66-year-old Ramesh Sujanani knows as much about cutting back on expenditure as he does about investing for a return.
When this businessman decided to pen a few words to The Gleaner, published on June 8 and advising the Government on how to achieve much-needed economic growth, Sujanani hoped his advice would not have gone unnoticed.
What he never imagined was that his article, which was carried as the Gleaner letter of the day with the headline 'Austerity vs stimulus', would have landed him the Gleaner Silver Pen award for the month.
"I never knew. This is the very first time I have won anything for writing. I won a champion exporter's prize from the JMA (Jamaica Manufacturers' Association) in 1985, but never anything for my writing," Sujanani said.
He has been motivated to write countless letters to The Gleaner over the years on a number of issues, but when he decided to coin the winning piece, he said it was simply because "it was the hot topic at the time".
Austerity vs stimulus examined how different governments across the globe have used these two principles to try and achieve economic growth, as well as the lessons learnt. Drawing from the different experiences, Sujanani concluded that what was needed in Jamaica was a mixture of both.
"Stimulus means more government spending, which eventually turns out to be abused by governments or frittered away in crony pay-offs. Austerity usually means less spending and higher taxes. Then it turns out nobody wants to restrict spending, especially when the economy is crumbling because of higher taxes," he reasoned in his article.
The businessman told The Gleaner that, too often, the Government "concentrates on reducing expenditure and doesn't concentrate sufficiently on increasing production, whereas both need to work hand in hand to work properly".