Sun | Sep 24, 2023


Golding outlines would-be focus of a PNP administration

Published:Saturday | September 16, 2023 | 12:09 AM
Opposition Leader Mark Golding, who 
is also president of the opposition People’s National Party.
Opposition Leader Mark Golding, who is also president of the opposition People’s National Party.

OPPOSITION LEADER Mark Golding has pledged that an administration run by him will maintain proper fiscal management of the Jamaican economy.

Golding, who was speaking at a recent Gleaner Editors’ Forum at the newspaper’s North Street headquarters, said “a lot” was done to get past severe economic challenges that dogged the country for decades, and that he is committed to ensuring that that continues.

“The idea of ensuring that the ultimate objective of achieving debt sustainability is maintained, we’re fully on board with that. Where we will differ is on the discretionary spending that exists and how that is deployed,” the People’s National Party (PNP) president said.

“One of the benefits of the reforms that were pursued over the last 10 years is that there is every year additional fiscal space for policy decision making,” Golding added, noting that he will not yet get into specifics.

He said that there are opportunities for the PNP to emphasise things that it thinks are more important now than are currently being addressed by the Government.

“I think that the population wants to see greater emphasis on some of those things,” said Golding.

The opposition leader has consistently called for the Andrew Holness-led Government to cushion the effects of the cost-of-living crisis on the most vulnerable citizens.

Golding wants the Government to slow the pace of fiscal consolidation and debt reduction, arguing that several countries are going this route.

He said resources from that must be used to help the people who are most vulnerable and “feeling the pinch”.

The South St Andrew member of parliament said that he has proposed how to cap the ad valorem tax on oil prices under the Provisional Collection of Tax Act, suggesting that the limit be placed at US$67.50 per barrel.

Further, he pressed the Government to spend $40 billion – two per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) – to cover vulnerable groups in several segments of the population who are experiencing challenges.

“I think the population wants to see greater emphasis on some of those things. We are not the same, and we will definitely have a different programmatic platform to the Government, but one thing that we will maintain is the importance of proper fiscal management,” Golding added.

“We don’t want Jamaica to go back to a situation where the debt of the country absorbs all of the fiscal resources,” he said.

Golding is expected to outline his plans for the economy tomorrow when the party celebrates its 85th anniversary at its annual conference.

Yesterday, the party said that its conference unanimously ratified a third consecutive term for Golding as president.

A change in the party’s constitution in July mandated a two-year term of office for the president and vice-presidents.

Additionally, it said a resolution was moved which prohibits a leadership contest the year before a general election is constitutionally due.

“Therefore, Mark Golding will lead the PNP into the next general election when it is called,” a statement from the party said.

The PNP’s private session continues today and will culminate tomorrow with a public session at the National Arena.