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World Bank Country Director Cites Critical Areas For Growth

World Bank Country Director Cites Critical Areas For Growth
Newly appointed World Bank Caribbean Country Director, Tahseen Sayed.

KINGSTON (JIS) -- Newly appointed World Bank Caribbean Country Director, Tahseen Sayed, has cited three areas which she says are pivotal to Jamaica’s attainment of developed country status, in keeping with the Vision 2030 National Development Plan. These are maintaining macroeconomic stability; public-sector modernisation; and repositioning of the private sector as the key driver of economic growth. She was speaking with journalists during a breakfast meeting at the World Bank’s Jamaica office at the Courtleigh Corporate Centre in New Kingston on April 7. Mrs. Sayed said it was important for Jamaica to “stay the course” in relation to the current programme of macroeconomic stability and reforms being implemented by the Government. “That is critical because to move towards a higher economic growth trajectory and higher gross domestic product (GDP) levels, you do need to have stabilisation in the economy (and)… a fiscal situation which is well consolidated and able to (support) development programmes that are required for the country,” she pointed out.

Mrs. Sayed said public-sector modernisation is imperative in ensuring the seamless delivery of services by the State.

“Because there is a contact between the citizenry and the State, (the) ease of getting public services, whether it’s getting approvals for your birth certificates, or your licences, or whatever, has to be something that is happening in (a) much more modernised and efficient manner,” she contended.

The Country Director also argued that Jamaica’s attainment of sustained growth and development “really has to happen with the key driver, predominantly being the private sector”.

As such, she emphasised the importance of the business environment and investment climate being conducive to their participation in the economy.

In this regard, Mrs. Sayed lauded Jamaica’s performance in the World Bank’s Doing Business Report matrix, particularly in 2015 when the country jumped a historic 36 places from 94 to 58 to be ranked the top English-speaking Caribbean country in terms of ease of doing business.

The Bank’s Report also ranked Jamaica’s economy among the top-10 most improved economies globally in 2016.

The 2016 Report highlighted Jamaica as being one of two Caribbean countries making tax compliance easier for businesses, consequent on the implementation of several measures, notably the online Revenue Administration Information System (RaiS).

Despite slipping to 67th in 2017, two places down from its 2016 ranking, Jamaica remains the top Caribbean country in ease of doing business.

“I was quite happy to see that the Doing Business numbers for Jamaica are looking quite good compared with many (other countries),” Mrs. Sayed said.

Meanwhile, she hailed the Vision 2030 National Development Plan, which aims to make Jamaica the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business.

“I think the (goal) that has been set of (transforming to) a First-World country by 2030 is a great vision (that) Jamaica has set for itself. It’s always good to have a vision and aspire to something big that the people can embrace,” she said.

The meeting with journalists formed part of Mrs. Sayed’s week-long inaugural visit to Jamaica from April 3 to 7, following her appointment on February 9.

Her itinerary also included meetings with Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness; Finance and the Public Service Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw; as well as key representatives from the private sector and civil society to discuss the World Bank’s engagement in support of Jamaica’s pro-growth reforms and efforts to improve social and climate resilience.