Attracting local and Foreign Investments (Part III)
The question is - what will the Dominica Freedom Party (DFP) do to encourage investments in our country! In the article before the last one we discussed the importance of investments for building a prosperous future; and in last week's article we noted that under the leadership of the Dominica Freedom Party (1980 to 1995), the public sector in Dominica undertook much investment aimed at driving private investments and national productivity. This brought much progress to our country.
But alas, under the PM Skerrit administration, not only have the ball been dropped, the country has regressed. How do we reverse such failure? How do we rise again? It starts with returning to good governance! We have to reject the type of political governance that contributed to our demise! Take corruption for instance - if it is not present, our country will be able to accomplish more even with the resources we have. At this point in our history, are we being robbed right before our very eyes through government projects such as the river dredging? Questions like these have been raised about many other projects. But certainly, the DFP wants to once again return to the days when savings were made on projects! That was the legacy of the Freedom Party! Such savings could be used to address other needs.
The DFP will return our country to the situation where, when talent is recognized, it is nurtured; where budding success is sported, it is supported to become more productive and to expand; and where the relevant skills needed to develop our country are pursued. But the important caveat is that all this will be done without reference to a person's political support or any other discriminatory considerations. In empowering our citizens, political support won't matter to us! That is how DFP governed during its 1980 to 1995 term in office and this is how we will do it again! This is part of the reason we made good economic progress during that period!
Additionally, the current politics of self-interest will be absent from a DFP administration. This is my promise to you, my people, and you can hold me accountable for that. We will spend our energies on making our people prosperous, but not on making ourselves prosperous at the expense of the people. Just look at the current Labour Party administration and compare their personal success since getting into political office with how the country has performed! Clearly, they are not focused on country success and that hurts us as a people. Corrupt behaviour drives away investors! When politicians and persons holding public office ask potential investors for kick-backs, serious and honest investors will not be interested in investing in our country! Ask yourself whether that is not a big part of the reason why we have not seen significant foreign investments in our country under the Roosevelt Skerrit administration. Just turning that corner is going to make a big difference to attracting investment into Dominica. That is what the DFP promises just as we did before - honest government that will serve as a draw to investors and to attract bilateral assistance from democratic governments!
Importantly, the DFP will engage in effective strategic planning. This is a very important area of governance for a country; it puts strong measures in place to control or eliminate corruption. Investors respond best when a country has a strong vision and there is clarity about the policies, programmes and actions that it intends to pursue to attain that vision. DFP will actively seek to attack foreign investors to our jurisdiction and to encourage our people to invest. But we will do so with clarity about the areas in which our county can develop international competitive advantage. In that regard, we will develop a clear long-term vision document and a set of medium-term planning documents that drill down to the strategic actions to be pursued. These documents must be tied to the annual public sector budget, and there must be a strong implementation framework for the planning documents inclusive of a monitoring and evaluation framework. In other words, our planning will be deliberate, but flexible! We will not be in the perpetual mode of outing fires! This is what I have been advising countries on in my profession work as a development economist! This kind of planning will lead us out of our current malaise and put us on the path to national prosperity, economic dignity and sustainable development. This kind of planning will embrace the skills of our civil servants who will certainly be motivated by an administration of integrity! This type of planning sets the stage for growth in investments!
But we still need to get into some more elements of our strategy, the more direct ones, as it relates to fostering an enabling environment for investments. Stay tuned for the next article. Let's go places with Freedom.
Dominica Freedom Party.