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Jamaicans Need to Get More “National” – EGC Chief

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With the Jamaican economy poised for growth, more and more foreign investors may swoop in and buy assets here. That may not augur well for the future of the country in general and the Jamaican public in particular. Major Jamaican assets must be owned by the locals and for this, the people here have to start saving. This was the important message conveyed by Michael Lee-Chin, the Chairman of the Economic Growth Council (EGC). He felt there has to be a paradigm shift in the way Jamaicans handled their finances.

Make a Habit of Saving from Earnings

The tendency among the general public is to practically spend all that they earn, leaving no savings in their banks. This is not a healthy situation for any economy.  According to Lee-Chin, people must put away at least 10% of what they earn in some form of savings or investments that can be tapped into later. Ideally, such savings must be used to buy assets like property. He gave the example of Asia, where the savings rate is high which enables some of those economies to do very well. Foreign businesses and investors can come here, setup their businesses, provide employment to Jamaicans and so on. That can help the country and the people very much. However, if the foreigners end up buying land and buildings here, that does not help the Jamaican economy. They will repatriate the profits they make here, to their respective homelands. In the long run, this can result in the prices going up and the economy suffering.

The ‘National’ Spirit Must Prevail

What the EGC Chairman is advocating, is a mass movement in Jamaica that needs to be encouraged on a large scale. Besides saving money in their bank accounts, the public must find ways to invest in stocks and other instruments which will indirectly boost the economy. If an aspiring Jamaican entrepreneur knows that people are inclined towards making investments in businesses, he or she will make some bold moves and begin a startup venture. That is how the local economy will get a boost and over time, Jamaicans will be owning and managing Jamaican assets and properties. Mr. Lee-Chin, in his speech, referred to the Harlem locality in the US which has been practically taken over by foreigners. He said there is a lesson to be learnt from that as far as Jamaicans are concerned. In terms of location significance, Jamaica is no different from Harlem, he mentioned.

Jamaicans are therefore encouraged to start saving!


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