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LETTER OF THE DAY - Job creation is not just the Gov't's responsibility

Published:Thursday | November 29, 2012 | 12:00 AM


EVER SINCE the abolition of slavery, which was the only time in our history when there was full employment, governments have been challenged to create an environment in which anyone who wishes to work for a living can find suitable employment in the economy. They have never really been able to get it right.

The real job creators are the consumers of goods and services. It is they who create demand which smart entrepreneurs respond to, further creating more goods and services to satisfy those demands while employing more people. It, therefore, follows that if too many in the society are unemployed, hence having no access to cash, then it will lead to further contraction and uncertainty in the economy. It is, therefore, in everyone's interest to have as near full employment as possible in the economy. It supports a wider tax base for governments to earn more so they can effect more development in the society, businesses thrive, the population enjoys a greater sense of well-being and the spin-off effect is usually that the crime rate is significantly lowered.

Furthermore, due to the largely inefficient system of tax collection, this burden is unfairly carried by the PAYE system, motor vehicle owners, and consumers by way of the general consumption tax. By the way, these are one and the same people!

Clearly, job creation is not just the Government's responsibility. We all have a critical part to play in this - government, business and the consumer. Because government is the eldest child in this family, it should take the lead.

One of the challenges we have always faced is that neither government nor business really understand each other. They think they do but they don't. They usually see the world differently, certainly from different perspec-tives, and are motivated by different stimuli. It is not by accident that business people usually don't do well in politics and, for that matter, politicians in business. Each discipline demands a different skills set. It is time for Govern-ment to finally admit that notwithstanding campaign promises made to create jobs, they really don't know how to do it, and surely can't do it alone and need help. It is time, too, for the business class to admit that it is largely a reactive group and needs help in expanding commerce and industry. Historically, the two work well together. They are a disaster on their own.

Modalities will, therefore, have to be devised which will facilitate more intense ongoing collaboration, dialogue and action between the public and private sectors if we are to first develop understanding between the two and chart the way forward for our people.

Carl Bliss