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Portia given thumbs down

KINGSTON — Key private sector and civil society leaders expressed disappointment with Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller’s address to the nation on Sunday evening, which they said failed to deal with important issues facing the nation, such as the sliding dollar and the lack of an agreement with the International Monetary Fund.

President of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica, Christopher Zacca, said while the prime minister’s report of her administration’s first year in office showed that she had the nation’s interest at heart, it failed to chart a way forward for the country.

“The prime minister addressed a number of achievements such as the reduction in crime, which is to be commended, but generally I don’t think she fully addressed key issues facing the country such as the lack of an IMF agreement as well as how the Government can think outside the box and create real economic growth for the country going forward,” Zacca said yesterday.

The PSOJ president said Simpson Miller has the ability to communicate major issues to the Jamaican people and said he wanted to see her do so more often.

“We need more outside-the-box thinking from her and her Government, because clearly we need a whole new paradigm in this country if we are to move the economy forward,” Zacca said.

President of the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association, Brian Pengelley, said Simpson Miller did not address the prior actions that are needed to seal an IMF deal.

“It was good for the prime minister to recap the achievements, but we need to focus on 2013 with some level of confidence that we have a strategy to grow this economy out of the issues that we face,” Pengelley said.

“The JMA is asking if there is anything we can do to help, but before we can help we need to know what are the prior actions and the issues that the Government faces in getting this (IMF deal) done,” he added.

President of the Jamaica Exporters’ Association Andrew Collins said the prime minister gave “a measured and sober assessment of the state of the country”, but also noted that she did not say much about the IMF deal and the sliding dollar. (Observer)

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