On the heels of the grand promise of jobs, jobs, jobs, the government convinced the country that it has the found the Holy Grail to create those jobs in the establishment of the National Initiative for Creating Employment (NICE). Didn’t the government know that NICE STEPS could not create the kind of jobs that the people need and would grow the economy? Economics 101 would show that you can’t grow the economy with NICE STEPS. The people need real and productive jobs that would allow them to go to the bank or credit unions for a loan to build their homes and finance their children’s education!
I am sure that at least one of the government’s economic advisors would have reminded them of this famous quote from the renowned Economics Nobel Prize Winner Milton Friedman: “. . . the supporters of tariffs treat it as self evident that the creation of jobs is a desirable end, in and of itself, regardless of what the person is employed do. That is clearly wrong.”
If all we want are jobs, we can create any number—for example, have people dig holes and then fill them up again or perform other useless tasks. Work is sometimes its own reward. Mostly, however, it is the price we pay to get the things we want. Our real objective is not just jobs but productive jobs—jobs that will mean more goods and services to consume.”
Is the government now realizing that productive jobs are those generally created by the private sector where real value is added to goods and services which in turn adds value to Gross Domestic Product (GDP)? Or has the government given up on the creation of jobs?
If NICE STEPS were the brilliant job creation engines designed to reduce unemployment, why has the government cut the budgetary allocations to NICE and STEP by $9M and $3M?
The government should have invested a lot more money into the productive sectors of the economy to rejuvenate the economy which would in turn absorb the growing levels of unemployment. The $500 being paid to the parents of students entering secondary schools should have been cut and put into agriculture, for instance.
What is the real value of this grant that is being paid to every parent, rich or poor?
If the parent can’t afford to fund their child’s secondary education would a grant in year one make a difference? What about the other four years, who will finance them? If at all such payments must be made; they should be done only on a needs basis.
A year or two ago, I remember seeing the third most powerful person in Saint Lucia lined up to collect the $500 grant—for me that was the most disgusting sight I had ever seen!
We demand more prudent governance from this government.