Sat | Sep 22, 2018

Phillips laid wicket for growth

Published:Friday | January 12, 2018 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

There seems to be a misunderstanding among some persons about the position of the People's National Party (PNP) with respect to the current public-sector wage negotiations.

When the PNP took over the reins of government in 2011, not only was the IMF agreement derailed, but the fiscal reality was of such that the nation was on the brink of economic disaster.

Based on the hard-won improvements in the fiscal fortunes of the country on account of the strong performance of the PNP administration with Dr Peter Phillips as finance minister, the economy was put on strong footing to ensure better pay for workers going forward.

There was, in fact, wage restraint during the period which was signed on and agreed to by all the various groupings and unions representing public-sector workers.

The Government, within that context of sacrifice, gave the workers an undertaking to improve wages and benefits as the country's fiscal situation improved. This commitment was honoured.

There was an improvement in the fiscal deficit, which declined to 0.2% for the fiscal year 2016-2017 from 4.1% in fiscal year 2012-13. Likewise, the public debt-to-GDP ratio fell from 140.3% at December 2012 to 120.2% at March 2017.

Owing to the strong management and the agreed sacrifices and commitment exhibited by the groupings unions and indeed the people of Jamaica, the nation was able to improve the debt to GDP from 150 per cent to now 110 per cent.

With this kind of sacrifice and achievement, Dr Peter Phillips can now call for improved wages for the public sector as the necessary fiscal space was created to facilitate this.

JULIAN ROBINSON

General Secretary, PNP