The affinity by the prime minister and minister of finance Dr
The first red card was the re-election of the
A more critical number not reported is the percentage of the labour force of younger people (18-35 years) who have stopped looking for work; and the growing population of middle-aged unemployed grandparents without a revenue stream or the adequate support of a social safety net.
The LPM reiterates that the government must give priority to a master plan for sustainable growth, job creation, poverty reduction and crime reduction in a systematic manner. With an accompanying new education approach to science, technology, engineering, maths (STEM) -- and the introduction of an apprenticeship and job training program to narrow the mismatch of the necessary skills that employers look for, and are prepared to pay a living wage for the services provided.
It is quite possible that a substantial boost for growth and renewal could emanate from energy, trade, technology, infrastructure, and talent development to create jobs quickly.
This painstaking compilation is necessary to put into perspective the future horizon and to understand my second look at the paralysis of liberal economics as delivered in an undemonstrative and dejected speech to the nation on
This is not unusual for a savvy political veteran and a political party with deep cynical moves that bluff voters in broad daylight to elect an empty cabinet of ministers. This reminds me to draw your attention to my previous article, Why we don't need cabinet doctors, dated
In the prime minister's speech he said, "I believe that the worst is over for our private sector." He went on to say, "There has been a good, solid rebound in tourism. Stay-over arrivals for the period January to
This is precisely what I want to focus on -- unbalanced growth.
As much as the prime minister would hope to cling to the positives to outweigh the negatives, this hope remains counterproductive without a credible job creation plan and a financial reform agenda, targeted towards (jobs, growth and prosperity) economic stimulation. Inflation is pushing people every day into deeper poverty. Home rentals and ownership, health care costs, utility bills, public transportation, to name a few, continue to increase. Yet, despite the pronouncements of increased tourism arrivals and Dr Anthony's assertion that "I believe that the worst is over for our private sector", his Labour government has failed to deliver jobs and labour reform to put people back to work for better days. In
Economic growth: "Total value added at constant prices for the Saint Lucian economy decreased by 0.8 percent during 2012 when compared to an increase of 1.5% in 2011. This was due largely to a 8 percent increase in the agriculture sector and a modest increase of 2.6% in hotels and restaurants. This compares to a decline in the construction sector of 5% in 2012." http://220.127.116.11:9090/stats/
Has the construction stimulus package "blocked a hole" -- to borrow Hon.
Current estimates reveal that the Construction Stimulus Package has cost the government of Saint Lucia EC$56.3 million. That number is expected to increase, causing more skilled trades job losses, lower wages, zero government revenue and more borrowing by the detractors of progress -- the
It is even more shameful for Dr
Inequality is a growing concern that echoes in the depressed incomes of most households and therefore constrains consumption growth, which in turn reduces economic growth. It also raises the risk of instability -- fuelled by the awareness of unfairness.
Therefore, reducing inequality via appropriate minimum wage parameters is an important equation to boost economic growth, increase demand, and to have policies that reinforce the links between improved productivity and wages, reducing recruitment cost and to achieve a better bottom line. Also, making sure the minimum wage is in close proximity to 60 percent of the average wage is smart policy to tackle market-driven inequality, and to affirm a principled position that, since everyone's work contributes to economic growth, it is only fair to have everyone share the benefit.
This would greatly benefit all to focus on the productive economy, and make a firm commitment to investing in people, skills and jobs, to improve the skills of workers in science, technology, engineering, maths (STEM) and reduce economic disparity. For the simple fact is that, if no action is taken to tackle the youth jobs crisis, long-term unemployment, high drop-out rates and other pressing labour market issues, the hopes for sustainable growth will be destroyed, while sowing the seeds for deeper social unrest that is already showing up in communities across
In the US and
Under Dr Anthony's Labour government, small businesses and the middle class continue to lose hope. The standard of living has dropped. Household debt is rising. As this decline continues, families are in crisis. Crime is on the rise and the underground economy is thriving -- by narrowing the beneficiaries of growth to a smaller elite group.
At this point, if Dr Anthony's Labour government is unable to negotiate a minimum wage of no less than EC$1,000 dollars monthly for the workers of
As a result, corporate leaders, both local and international, have turned a deaf ear to Dr Anthony's Labour government construction stimulus package (or loyalist bonanza in disguise): projects of dubious merit, and weak job creation initiative for the past two years, to expand business operation and the hiring of employees.
But as skillfully as Dr
Therefore, the LPM urges the SLP government to borrow
1. Review corporate taxes and the VAT tax policy for a more equitable allocation and collection of existing taxes (e.g. one flat rate), enhance local revenue collection and to finance the current account deficit with more inflows of corporate service, foreign direct investment (FDI) and financial services
2. Build institutional capacity to support energy, trade, technology, infrastructure, agriculture development, talent development; and to streamline efficient systems that allocate resources well to achieve high growth and reduce risk
3. Reduce the size and cost of government and undertake a voluntary IMF renewal agreement for fiscal consolidation of deficit reduction below 4 percent of GDP
4. The implementation of universal health care and a drug policy reform
5. The full adoption of the labour code and the approval of minimum wage to EC$1,000 monthly
6. Expedite public sector modernization along with the redistribution of business development sectors from the public service to the
7. Accelerate financial sector reforms for greater oversight and governance, regulatory independence, accountability, and public sector financial management (debt servicing, risk management) legislation and the rule of law
8. Reduce government expenses and financial risk in foreign holdings and operational liabilities in office rent, lease and automobiles
9. Combine the use of monetary policy, structural reform and fiscal stimulus, and to enable a better balance between price stability, growth and inflation in an enabling macroeconomic environment for strong investor confidence
10. Make use of the instruments of capital markets, insurance and hedge funds in alignment with regional and global markets to make business development financing, capital and housing financing and equity financing accessible -- as well as a clear plan to empower cooperatives and pension funds, encourage greater local savings and Diaspora investment options
11. The implementation of a
12. Develop enterprise in areas of skills development alongside agro-commodities markets, farm and cooperative markets and initiatives like the LPM home and garden club
13. Proceed with a number of new residential, commercial and civil projects that were deferred upon coming to office on
14. Return to a market based approach to development such as the LPM Sulphurcity Sustainable Action Programme (SSAP) and Manufacturing, Agriculture, Infrastructure development and Tourism, (MAIT), powered through Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM)
15. Enable access to microloans and low interest loans, low bank charges and credit card fees, for home based start-ups (that centre on the family -- rural and community development ) women and youth in the areas of agriculture and agro-business, solar energy, and communication technology
16. Rebuild rural and community development through the model of town and village councils via the open election model of governance with shared responsibility and decentralization between central government and councils. Urbanization is an imperative to address poverty, healthcare and education to empower job creation and economic growth
17. There is an urgent need for a land use policy, the protection of farmlands, water resources and animal habitat via a
18. Promote the development of aquaculture, biogas and greenhouses, agriculture and energy agro-business, fish production, and in the process increase farm productivity with the goal to reduce by 30% the food import bill; close the trade gap imbalance; safeguard jobs and foreign exchange
19. On matters of fair trade and competition, merger and acquisitions there is need for a robust competition bureau and consumer protection legislation
20. Support manufactures to retool plant and equipment; provide short-term tax relief to curb high raw material cost and the promotion of renewable energy to produce competitive products to revive local demand and satisfy international markets
21. Focus on some heavy lifting in overseas trade and commerce in major hubs, cities and regions to build a Saint Lucian brand and boost a real economy, instead of a La Charite economy that gives Malaway Pluck!
In order to realize a year of renewal, the solution lies in progressive and responsible planning, clear policy direction and decision making that is economically sound to favour the long-term investment horizon.
A such, it is time not only to engage in real economic conversations but to implement policies that would embody these actionable ideas to meet the desperate problems
The time for platitudes is over!
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