On April 27, 2016, Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced the launch of Jamaica’s Economic Growth Council (EGC) – a group tasked with advising the Jamaican government on the best ways to achieve economic growth in specific areas. Here are the answers to six questions that many Jamaicans would (and should) ask about the EGC:
1. What are they supposed to do?
The Economic Growth Council was appointed to consult widely and to advise the Cabinet on a collection of broad platform policies and reforms that would facilitate economic growth in Jamaica. According to Prime Minister Andrew Holness, “They will come up with policy initiatives, they will bring investments, they will ensure the planning and that the investments make sense, that the investments are logical, that they interconnect … and that any possible roadblocks or obstacles, that those are brought to the attention of Government and cleared” (direct quote from The JIS’ article on EGC launch).
2. How do they plan to help with Jamaica’s economic growth?
Through careful monitoring of eight growth initiatives, which “translate into numerous specific policy proposals, which have been recommended to the Cabinet for consideration and which the EGC plans to communicate over the days and weeks to come” (from a report on the EGC from the Office of the Prime Minister).
The eight growth initiatives are:
- Maintain macro-economic stability and pursue debt reduction strategies
- Improve citizen security
- Improve access to finance
- Pursue bureacratic reform to improve the business environment
- Stimulate greater asset utilisation
- Build human capital
- Harness the power of the disapora
- Catalyse the implementation of strategic projects
3. Who are they?
The EGC should have no more than 12 members, drawn from the public and private sectors. The Council currently comprises:
- Michael Lee-Chin, OJ, Chairman, EGC (Chairman, National Commercial Bank)
- Ambassador Dr. Nigel Clarke, Vice Chairman, EGC (Deputy Chairman & CFO, Musson Group of Companies)
- Hugh C. Hart, OJ (Senior Partner, Hart Muirhead Fatta)
- Patrick Hylton CD (Group Managing Director, NCB)
- Noel Hylton, OJ, CD (Noel Hylton and Associates, Former Chairman, President and CEO, Port Authority of Jamaica)
- Paula Kerr-Jarrett (Director, Barnett Limited)
- Pat Ramsay (Cultural Consultant and Development Director)
- Adam Stewart (CEO, Sandals Resorts International)
- Senator Kavan Gayle (Representative from Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions)
- Phillip Gore (Owner & Executive Chairman of Gore Developments Ltd.)
4. Who do they report to?
The Council will report to the Prime Minister and will make quarterly reports on its progress. According to EGC Chairman Michael Lee Chin, “We’ll be going on national television and giving a report … as to where we stand with the milestones, whether we have achieved them or not and why we have not achieved them.”
5. How long will this Council last for?
The Economic Growth Council will be appointed for a period of four years and will be eligible for re-appointment.
6. What is Five-in-Four (#5in4)?
Chairman of the EGC, Michael Lee Chin, has said that the group will work toward achieving a gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of five per cent in the next four years. This is part of their efforts to take Jamaica from ‘devloping’ to ‘developed’.
Dig deeper. Check out the following articles/resources for more information:
- JIS article on EGC launch
- The Gleaner’s breakdown of what needs to be done to achieve real growth
- A report on the EGC from the Office of the Prime Minister