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A Brief History of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ)

The 1950s–1960s

The establishment of the Central Planning Unit (CPU) in 1955 was the product of a strong conviction on the part of the political party which came to power at that time, the People’s National Party and in particular of its leader, the Hon. Norman Manley, that planning was an essential requirement for successful economic and social development.

The concept of planning by the state has been for a long time the subject of deep differences — in large part on ideological and political grounds. It has been seen by some as an instrument closely associated with the communist regime in the Soviet Union whose Five-year Plans used to be much publicized. It has been associated with the issue of the role of the state in development, a matter which is still debated in Jamaica.

No one today, however, seriously questions the role of planning as a part of the management function, whether in the state system as a whole, in individual government agencies, in the private sector, or in other non-governmental spheres. What remains at issue is the nature and scope of the planning process in each case, and the question — who participates?

It is useful to take a look at the situation in Jamaica as it was in the mid-1950s. This was some seven years before the country achieved Independence, and some time after the establishment of a ministerial system, although this process was not yet complete. There were, for example, colonial officials in the Executive Council, which eventually gave way to the Cabinet. Jamaica had experienced just about 10 years of representative government with the introduction of Universal Adult Suffrage in 1944. But Jamaica was still a British Colony.

A new government was in place, drawn from a political party which had for 17 years expressed its ideologies and its views concerning governance and development and had for 10 years been the opposition party in Jamaica’s parliament.

The country was in the early stages of installation of the agencies required by a modern state for purposes of development in the broad sense. The Department of Statistics had been established following the census of 1943 — which provided extensive information on population and other matters. The Industrial Development Corporation, the Economics Division of the Ministry of Finance, and that of the Ministry of Agriculture were important agencies in the development field. The Bank of Jamaica came in 1961.

A number of important laws relating to development and planning were passed, some of them as a basis for establishing new agencies. These included the Scientific Research Council, the Development Finance Corporation, the Pioneer Industries Encouragement Law, and the Industrial Incentive Law. There were, in addition, the Town Planning Legislation, the Beach Control Law, and the Underground Water Control Law, and the Authorities established through that legislation.

A limited amount of economic data was available. One or two efforts had been made at preparing the National Income, and Product estimates of employment and unemployment were being prepared by the Department of Statistics. But, as far as penetrating examination of the country’s economy was concerned, there were a number of particular events which could be mentioned.

First, The Report of the Economic Policy Committee, the Bennam Report, prepared under the very well known Professor of Economics from The London School of Economics who had spent some time in the region as economic advisor in the Development and Welfare Organization established by the British government following the 1938 Royal Commission’s criticisms of the neglect of the West Indian Colonies by Britain. That report was probably the first such survey. Later, in 1952, a World Bank team visited Jamaica and prepared a report entitled “The Economic Development of Jamaica,” with recommendations.

Again, there was the study by Professor Arthur Lewis on the Industrialisation of the British West Indies, published in 1950 — a study which had a considerable influence on development policies and approaches in the region for many years, but those conclusions and recommendations have been sharply questioned by some in more recent times. Other important documents were the Wakefield Report on Agriculture prepared under the leadership of the advisor on agriculture in the Development and Welfare Organization for the West Indies in 1942, and the Agricultural Police Committee Report of 1945.

The Institute of Social and Economic Research was one of the first elements of the new University of the West Indies. Its research and seminars and reports constituted a valuable contribution in these early years to the efforts by Jamaica and other countries of the West Indies to promote development.

The 1950s saw the rise of the bauxite industry to a major position with its investments giving a strong impetus to the economy. It was a period in which Jamaicans discovered that they could enter Britain freely and migration to that country soared. The value of the Jamaican pound was tied to that of the English pound and thus there was no “balance of payments problem,” as such.

Economic Data

Against this background, the CPU set about collating such economic data as were available, and analysing these in order to provide advice to the Government. Work on a development plan commenced and the National Plan for years 1957–1967 was published in January 1958, having come into operation in April 1957. It called for expenditure to the total of 70 million pounds over the period. The preparation of the plan was not merely a CPU effort. It involved Government agencies of all kinds — which, of course, had their own authority and responsibilities.

In the mid-1950s Jamaica’s national income was estimated to be in the vicinity of 150 million pounds and per capita income about 100 pounds. The Government’s budget amounted to 30–40 million pounds and tourist arrivals around 160 000. The island’s population was 1 500 000.

In the period from the mid-1940s to mid-1950s, two Plans were prepared. These mainly consisted of public sector programmes, prepared against limited resources in technical personnel, and economic and social data. In early 1958, the CPU prepared and published the first Economic Survey of Jamaica, covering the year 1957. This survey was tabled in the House of Representatives on the day of the introduction of the Budget by the Minister of Finance. This task tested the young CPU to the full because of the limited amount of information available in those years, and the strict deadline for its presentation. The Survey proved to be extremely useful — to the Government, to schools, to other Jamaican interests, as well as to foreign missions and business interests. The preparation and publication of the Survey continued. It has become a major annual publication, covering both the economic and social spheres, as well as constituting an accumulation of very valuable information on the five decades since its first appearance.

The establishment of the CPU was the beginning of the process of significant change in the working of Government Ministries, for it became clear that each agency should undertake its own task in so far as the planning of its programmes was concerned. The Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Education were among the first to establish their own sectoral planning units. The CPU exercised its influence not by wielding authority but by offering advice and assistance to them, as well as by way of its primary function of weaving the policies and programmes of individual agencies into a balanced and consistent national system.

The CPU was involved in a wide variety of matters as new institutions and new programmes were designed — these included the establishment of the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation, the Community Development Programme and the Youth Camps. In addition, the unit, and in particular its first Director was deeply involved in negotiations with the bauxite industry, and the discussions on the West Indies Federation. It was responsible for organizing the annual Ministers’ Retreat which was instituted at that time, and for much of the documentation which formed the basis of those discussions. In all of this, the Unit’s location in the Office of the Prime Minister, a unique situation, gave it a special advantage.

With the change in government in 1962, the CPU was no longer in the Prime Minister’s Office, but became a part of a complex of agencies under a new Minister of Development. Early in the new period, it spearheaded, with active involvement of the Minister, the preparation of a Five-Year Plan for the years 1963–1968. Another very significant early development in that period was the decision to establish a Government Family Planning Programme.

The list of persons who worked in the CPU in its early years is an interesting one, among them George Cadbury whose services were obtained by the New Chief Minister in 1955 from the UN to establish the Unit; Arthur Brown who became its first director; Raf Swaby; Gladstone Mills; Gloria Scott; Dennis McFarlane; Claudia Cavasco-Johnson, from Saint Lucia; Roy Dixon; Pat Levy (now Lady Golding); and Don Mills who later became the second director.

The 1970s

The National Planning Agency was established in 1972. The objective was to establish an agency to provide advisory and planning assistance to government. The main areas of focus were social planning with an emphasis on manpower planning, sectoral issues, and the management of external technical cooperation. Through institutional strengthening, the Agency was better equipped with the necessary resources to carry out its mandate.

The second Five-Year Plan (1970–1975) was prepared. One of the major areas of focus was Human Development. The Plan sought to incorporate measures to provide avenues of social mobility, and institute reforms which would improve the quality and distribution of social services and amenities such as health, housing, education and training as well as water, roads, bridges and other public utilities. Special provisions were also made for selected groups, for example, the aged, the illiterate, the handicapped and the unemployed.

The Five Year Development Plan 1978–1982 was the result of continuous dialogue between the Government, the private sector, trade unions and other interests to establish a workable framework for economic growth. The Plan had two major economic aspects: 1) it expressed the necessity for a vigorous export expansion drive to relieve the acute foreign exchange problems that were being experienced and provided the stimulus to reverse the tendency towards negative growth; and 2) placed emphasis on Agriculture and other land-based activities, to develop the resources for the construction of a more self-reliant economy, and to generate employment opportunities and arrest urban drift.

The 1980s

There was another change of Government in the 1980s. The new Government embarked on an economic recovery programme in the face of severe deficits in the Balance of Payments (BOP). The period in the 1980s may be described as the economic stabilization and structural adjustment era, as the Government focused on achieving equilibrium on the external accounts, while simultaneously restructuring the economy in order to achieve self-sustained growth.

The stabilization plan was linked to a three-year development rollover plan, both of which were supported by several loans and financing agreements with the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and World Bank. These programmes involved a comprehensive set of performance criteria that the economy was expected to meet in order to qualify for continued external assistance from the international lending agencies. The successful implementation of programmes required continuous monitoring, appraisal and re-planning as well as the synchronization of both the stabilization and development goals. The apparatus to undertake these tasks involved a number of key public sector institutions, many of which have undergone institutional changes in order that they may be better able to carry out the responsibilities involved. It was out of this main consideration that the Planning Institute of Jamaica was established in 1984 and given a broader mandate than its predecessor, the National Planning Agency.

Planning Institute of Jamaica

The Planning Institute of Jamaica, along with the Statistical Institute of Jamaica, assumed the mandate of strengthening the management capability of the Government. An early warning system was initiated and involved continuous monitoring of the performance of the economy in order to determine the problems that inhibited economic performance and frustrated the attainment of performance targets.

Preliminary work commenced in 1984 on the development of a Comprehensive Manpower Plan responsive to the planning goals and labour needs of the country. Prior to the development of this plan, the Government had little knowledge of the demand for skills, except in the areas that were highly publicized. Hence, the plan served as a prerequisite for addressing unemployment. A series of manpower and training surveys were also launched to update the existing database on manpower utilization.

The PIOJ was integral in the development of the Agro 21 Programme (1983) from which special projects, such as the Self-Sufficiency and the Export Development Programmes, emanated. The former programme was aimed at reducing the importation of basic food items by placing emphasis on local production, while the latter was aimed at positioning the country to take advantage of competitiveness in the exchange rate and to develop the Manufacturing sector into a net earner of foreign exchange.

The Institute was also integral to the Administrative Reform component of the Structural Adjustment Programme. The former programme ensured that the support systems to implement the Manpower Plan were streamlined. Reform began with the Ministry of the Public Service and the Ministry of Finance and Planning.

The PIOJ, along with UNFPA and the National Family Planning Board, played a critical role in the development and implementation of a National Population Policy. This policy became an indispensable component of the country’s long-term programme for social and economic development. A Population Secretariat was established in 1984 and the Population Policy Coordinating Committee monitored the Population Policy’s implementation. Jamaica coordinated the preparation for the International Population Conference in Mexico in 1984 and helped to articulate the official position of Latin America and the Caribbean at this conference. A new publication, People Magazine, was introduced which comprised information about population issues.

Jamaica also hosted a United Nations (UN) sponsored Round Table at the Jamaica Conference Centre in 1985 and developed a Human Resource Facility to address the Short-Term Technical and Managerial manpower requirements of Third World countries in the short term. The thinking was that skills were to be mobilized from non-traditional sources (industrial, firms, trade, professional organizations, universities and public organizations) to assist developing countries. The Labour Market Information Newsletter was first published in June 1991 and provides information on developments affecting the labour market.

During 1989, the Social Well-Being Programme was revised and renamed the Human Resource Development Programme (HRDP). It was funded by external agencies including the World Bank and was aimed at rehabilitating and improving the provision and administration of basic social services in Health and Education. A national policy for Senior Citizens was also spearheaded. The Survey of Living Conditions, a household survey, was jointly published by the PIOJ and STATIN in 1989.

Project Planning and Development became integral to the work of the Institute as the Government entrusted the preparation of all technical assistance projects to the Institute. These projects were to be followed through with Bilateral and Multilateral assistance. The Institute had the initial impact in the Project Planning Process, that is, the idea phase of the project cycle. Under the National Project Planning System, the Projects Division appraised all projects at each stage of the project cycle and ensured that national decisions were made on the projects at each stage. The two decision-making bodies were the Pre-selection Committee and Cabinet. Of note, in the area of project development, was the Jamaica Pre-Investment Programme’s (JPIP) achievement of all the targets set for the 1984–1985 period.

A Project Data Bank (PDB), a computer-based information system, was implemented to capture data on public investment proposals emanating from either the Five Year Development Plan or from the Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP). The PDB tracks the progress of implementation of each project through each stage of its life cycle until completion.

The Institute coordinated a number of technical cooperation programmes with countries and agencies and the management of related budgets amounting to several million dollars annually. In the process of carrying out these responsibilities, the Institute worked closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Office of the Prime Minister, and the Ministry of Finance, Planning and the Public Service, as well as with Multilateral and Bilateral Agencies and countries.

To strengthen the economic management programme and forecasting capability, four macroeconomic models were introduced:

  • The Input-Output model provides forecasts on a disaggregated basis for 34 sectors and generates forecasts of variables within the fiscal output, trade and employment categories. It is partly used for predicting at a disaggregated level input and output requirements.
  • The Monetary Model determined national income on the basis of monetary parameters by generating a flow of funds table. A key feature of this model was its ability to forecast major components of the Balance of Payments, thereby giving an early indicator of the likely performance of IMF targets.
  • The Fiscal Model provided detailed forecasts of the Government’s revenue and expenditure and was used to estimate the prospects of achieving fiscal targets.
  • The Aggregate Demand Model determined national income and its components on the basis of effective demand. It was used to determine the growth implications of various BOP scenarios and of fiscal policy determinants.

 

The Quarterly Economic Report (QER) was first published in 1984 to capture economic activities during the period.

The 1990s

The Government shifted its areas of policy emphasis in the early 1990s. This involved a greater degree of liberalization of the Jamaican economy to provide the stimulus for expansion of the private sector to achieve economic development. The Government’s new role in creating a market-friendly environment required a shift in focus by the Institute in its policy coordination efforts. Consequently, in 1991, the PIOJ coordinated the privatization programme and the preparation of a Private Sector Development Loan. A new macroeconomic model, designed with a Neo-Keynesian framework, was added to the Institute’s modelling capacity. This model enabled the Institute to give more accurate forecasts of major economic trends.

The early 1990s saw a focus on social policy and the Institute played a pivotal role in finding solutions to the critical social and economic problems that faced the Jamaican society. The Institute presented the National Five-Year Development Plan (1990–1995) to the nation. The plan focused on global issues, the productive sector, social dimensions and physical infrastructure. The PIOJ also collaborated with the sector ministries in securing J$4 278.2 million as it exercised its role as the Government’s interface with International Donors and creditors.

A National Forestry Action Plan was also completed and presented to the International community for funding. A Special Projects Unit was established in 1990 to manage, coordinate and monitor special projects funded by external donor Governments/Agencies and the GOJ. The projects assigned at that time were: The Protected Area Resource Conservation Project (PARC); National Forestry Action Plan (NFPA); Japan/ USAID Co. Financing of Tourism Infrastructure Project; and The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA).

The Institute also pioneered work in the UNDP/GOJ National Study on Services Project. The study examined the contribution of the Service sector to the domestic economy and in particular its potential for increased trade. Under the project, the PIOJ’s negotiating team accomplished the final negotiating position for the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). The Institute also carried out significant functions at the international level as part of the negotiating team in negotiating stand-by agreements with the IMF and in securing additional BOP support for Government Policy.

A Macro Economic Keynesian Forecasting Model as well as a short-term Indicator Model, a Computerized Bibliographic Database, a Quarterly Index of Agricultural Production and an Index of Farm Gate Prices were also introduced. These last two indices provided an aggregated measure of the overall performance of the Agricultural sector.

New research was also initiated on a Spatial Optimization model of Jamaica’s sugar industry. The Government’s dairy policy was also reviewed and proposals for a new policy framework in the context of a liberalized economy formulated.

In 1992 a Geographic Information System was implemented under the Shelter Sector Programme. This system permitted the monitoring of the performance of the Housing sector on a spatial and regional basis. The GIS had implications for land use management as well as environmental monitoring.

The National Planning Council Secretariat (NPC) was transferred from the Ministry of Finance to the PIOJ. The NPC includes representatives from the Government, Trade Unions and the Private Sector and is responsible for giving policy advice to the Government on social and economic development.

The Flood Damage Rehabilitation Unit was also transferred to the Institute. This Unit focused on the rehabilitation of roads, bridges, drains, rivers and gullies damaged by the flood rains of 1993. Research was carried out on the feasibility of substituting cassava and other locally-produced commodities in livestock feeds, a review of the impact of trade liberalization on the poultry industry, and an examination of the impact of high interest rates on the demand for credit was also carried out.

The Institute formulated and reviewed policies guiding mainstream economic programmes. Of note, was the formulation of the National Industrial Policy targeted primarily at specific sectors and a World Bank Private Sector Development Adjustment Loan was negotiated.

A Non-Governmental Organization desk was established to facilitate collaboration between the Government and Non-Governmental Organizations in the process of development and nation building. The International Migration Project, which investigated how public sector posts could be filled by expatriate Jamaicans, was undertaken.

A Social and Research Policy was also developed as well as a computable General Equilibrium Macroeconomic Model. The latter model helped in evaluating the impact of policies and policy options that affected areas of the economy.

The Planning Institute of Jamaica completed and submitted to Cabinet for approval the National Poverty Eradication Programme, and the National Poverty Eradication Policy in 1997. The programme was designed to promote economic growth; reduce the number of persons in targeted communities living below the poverty line by 50.0 per cent over three years; and eradicate poverty in the long term. The Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) was also formulated to deliver basic services and infrastructure to the poor.

Assistance was sought from the Organization of American States (OAS) directed mainly at the disabled and channeled through the Mona Rehabilitation Centre and the Combined Disabilities Association. A new modality: Grass Roots Assistance, under which Government Agencies and NGOs could be funded for projects of economic and social significance, was introduced. Related support strategies undertaken by the PIOJ resulted in the equivalent of some J$2 538 million of new resources for poverty alleviation in 1996.

The National Policy on Children, Gender and Social Equity was presented to Parliament during 1997. An early warning system, which provided signals of emerging economic changes for such indicators as GDP and inflation, was also implemented in 1997. This system allowed for timely and appropriate policy decisions and changes.

A number of papers were developed by the Institute in 1998: it contributed to the development of an Inner-city Renewal Development Programme and a concept paper on Enterprise Zone Development Areas. These papers were aimed at redressing the inadequate physical and socio-economic conditions experienced by inner-city residents. A gender issues paper was also prepared in collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank and the Bureau of Women’s Affairs. Assistance was also given to NGOs in developing a proposal for strengthening the capacity of Women’s Organizat-ions for the implementation of decisions taken in Beijing.

In 1998, the Planning Institute provided technical support to the Government of Jamaica through the preparation of a due diligence exercise conducted as part of the process of securing a US$250 million bond in the International Financial Market. The National Environmental Plan was also updated in collaboration with the National Conservation Resources Authority. This Plan sought to identify Jamaica’s environmental priorities as well as to address environmental issues.

The Institute formulated the Medium Term Policy Framework document for 1999/2000–2001/02. The document included social and macroeconomic policy objectives and strategies to attain them. The organization participated in the finalization of the document for the draft national policy for persons with disabilities and assisted in finalizing the document to be submitted to Parliament in 2000.

The 2000s

The year 2000 saw the development of a Staff Monitored Programme (SMP), which articulated the Government’s medium-term economic and social strategies for economic growth and development as described in the Medium Term Economic and Social Policy Framework 2000–2003 for Jamaica. The SMP was designed to strengthen the adjustment strategy to more quickly reverse the adverse debt dynamics and to reduce the vulnerability of the economy. The first Jamaica Human Development Report (JHDR), launched in November 2000, was developed in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme. It addressed issues such as poverty, equity and social integration, the dynamics of gender relations and governance, democratic participation, social equity and empowerment. The publication, The Construction of Gender Development Indicators, which elaborates on the gender chapter of the JHDR, was prepared in collaboration with the Canadian International Development Agency and was launched with the JHDR.

The PIOJ made recommendations on various trade-related issues to public and private sector entities and international organizations, ensuring consistency with the objectives of Jamaica’s Trade Policy. The Institute coordinated and reviewed the study of measures in the Jamaica Service sector that were inconsistent with the provision of Protocol II of the Single Market and Economy. The measures identified were examined to determine a time frame for their removal in order to facilitate the full implementation of Protocol II.

In 2001, the Institute sought to engage civil society in dialogue and to get their participation in matters relating to the economic and social development of the country. The first forum in the Dialogue for Development Series was centred on the findings of the first Human Development Report for Jamaica. Dr. Wesley Hughes, Director General presented the first Lecture titled, “Jamaica: from Creative Adaptation to Sustainable Transformation”.

The Social Safety Net Programme, designed to benefit the nation’s most vulnerable citizens, received increased focus from the PIOJ in 2002. Emphasis was placed on activities that prompted and enhanced early childhood development, both at the local and regional levels. The Institute led in the process of designing a modern welfare system and worked with the funding agencies to secure grants/loans to support these programmes. The Action Plan (2000–2004) for the Inner City Renewal Programme, which included developing and executing a methodology for ranking the targeted communities was also finalized.

The Institute hosted a seminar titled “The Jamaican Labour Market in the 21st Century” and launched the National Labour Market Information System Electronic Labour Exchange in 2002. Sustainable development gained increased importance during the year and the Institute established a Sustainable Development (SD) Unit. The Unit’s priority activities were to achieve an integrated coordinated national SD strategy; work with stakeholders to ensure effective coordination of SD policies and projects; encourage the establishment of a comprehensive database to support SD policy, planning and strategy design; and provide an environment in which civil society can participate in and influence the SD decision making. In 2005, the SD Unit was upgraded to a Division.

In 2002 the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) introduced quarterly press briefings to update the public and media on the performance of the macro-economy and real sector.  The briefings are held six weeks after the end of each quarter, and includes information on the performance of the Goods-producing industry, the Services industry, the macroeconomy (i.e. inflation, Gross Domestic Product, fiscal performance, the foreign exchange market, the labour market) and post-quarter developments. A discussion on the economy between the Director General and the media follows the presentation.  The presentations are then uploaded on the Institute’s web site. The information presented is later analysed and published as the quarterly Economic Update & Outlook.

The Planning Institute was designated the focal point for donor coordination and harmonization. The objectives of this strategy were to demonstrate greater country ownership and better align the development assistance priorities of the Government, as well as to assist in more effective programming of donor lending resources. This meant that for the first time (in 2004), the PIOJ led the drafting and production of the Medium-Term Socio-Economic Policy Framework, (MTSEPF) 2004–2007, setting the tone for future coordination activities. The MTSEPF outlines the macroeconomic and social indicators and targets to be achieved within that timeframe and was adopted by the Government.

The Institute was also involved in the draft National Transport Policy. The Rural Sustainable Development Policy and the Agricultural Strategy Plan were also analysed. The organization also facilitated the preparation of the following in 2004:

  • Jamaica’s first National Report on the Millennium Development Goals;
  • Macro-Socio-Economic and Environmental Assessment of the Damage done by Hurricane Ivan, September 10–12, 2004; and
  • Compilation of Strategic Recommendations to Support the Viability of the Sugar Industry.

A major milestone of the Institute during 2005 was its 50th Anniversary celebrations. The twin objectives of the celebrations were to recognize the organization’s 50 years of service to Jamaica, and heighten public awareness of the organization’s roles and functions. One of the highlights of the celebrations was a conference on social and economic planning, held November 23-24, 2005. It brought together various technocrats and academicians, from across the region, to discuss the status of planning and to offer recommendations for the future. The publication, Planning today … Securing tomorrow: Perspectives on Development Planning in Jamaica is a compilation of the papers presented at the conference.

In November 2005, the former Minister of Finance, the Honourable Omar Davies, instructed the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) to commence the preparation of a long-term development plan for Jamaica.  Following this mandate, the Plan Development Unit was established at the PIOJ in October 2006.  The Draft Plan was officially launched on October 31, 2007 by the Honourable Bruce Golding, Prime Minister of Jamaica, at the Jamaica Conference Centre. Over a period of approximately two years, the PIOJ facilitated and led the process of formulating Jamaica’s first long-term national development plan, Vision 2030 Jamaica.  This process involved islandwide consultations with all relevant stakeholders; the setting up of Task Forces to construct the sector plans; and the establishing of specific targets and indicators to measure and track performance over each consecutive three-year period of the Plan.

The Vision 2030 Jamaica - National Development Plan document was completed on May 1, 2009 and tabled in Parliament on May 5, 2009.  Vision 2030 Jamaica provides the nation with the road map to achieve developed country status by 2030, or as the overarching vision statement spells it out more explicitly, to make “Jamaica, the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business.” An accompanying document, the Medium Term Socio-Economic Policy Framework 2009-2012 is the frame of reference for implementing the Plan, and the means by which the country's programmes and activities are more effectively aligned to the national budget.

A critical initiative during 2008 was the project proposal for funding to prepare the National Spatial Framework for guiding the location and regulation of planned developments. This plan will be a collaborative endeavour with the National Environmental and Planning Agency (NEPA), the Cabinet Office and the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) which are integrally involved in its implementation.

On April 21, 2008, the PIOJ moved to its new home located at 16 Oxford Road. On June 4 there were the twin celebrations: the launch of the Economic and Social Survey Jamaica (ESSJ) 50th Anniversary Publication and the Official Opening of the PIOJ Building by the Prime Minister, the Honourable Bruce Golding.

The Annual Dialogue for Development lecture, which was held on November 25, 2008, served as the opening ceremony for the Jamaica Survey of Living Conditions (JSLC) 20th Anniversary Conference. The Lecture entitled “The Conversation Between Statistics and Social Policy: When We Listen, When We Don’t” was delivered by Professor Patricia Anderson. The Lecture captured the theme of the Conference, “Framing Social Development Policy Through Research”, which was held the following day.

 
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