Merry Christmas and a happier New Year to Christians and all other religions that celebrate around this time. Peace, love, and respect to you.
We have all been through a challenging year of COVID 19 and the rigor required for simple survival in each of our lives. Governments, companies, and individuals have faced leadership challenges, resistance, and sometimes unruly dissent as decisions are taken.
To those who have died, rest in peace. For us the survivors, we say thanks.
2020 has forced changes in life, work, family life, and education as we have had to figure out how to learn, earn and coexist in entirely new ways that we did not consider before. Many will not return to their old norms as they have discovered that hobbies can become significant new opportunities that will prove more beneficial.
We therefore have to set new plans for 2021 as some challenges will carry over from this year. This will affect Government, corporations, and individuals. I feel that while COVID has been restrictive in so many ways, it has forced the emergence of new ideas and somehow imagination has overcome adversity. Many people have found new occupations, worked from home, or both together.
Let me share seven possibilities:
- Use any available funds to build out infrastructure and provide an opportunity to live in more spacious conditions so that when occupants are able to expand (without significant Government support) they will not replicate tenement yards. Set strict rules for expansion so that there is no chance to revert. They could be provided with, say, three plans that are ready-to-go expansions with engineering, and bills of quantities included.
- With the infrastructure already done, the price of building the houses will go down to manageable amounts over 30-40 years with no penalties for early repayment.
- Use labour as well as machinery to build out roads, water storage, electrical circuits and transmission, and retaining walls that are large enough to stop shortages and breakages in order to feed into an integrated grid.
- Give tax incentives for increasing exports and proven substitution of imports, all of which must be measurable. Stop measuring progress by comparing prior year results (especially when there were disasters during that year by drought and floods). Make it simple like last year we produced 100 lbs of potatoes so this year we must produce 110, and next year 121 (that is 10% growth). KISS.
- Revert to repealing double taxation of dividends that would either mean increased consumption or increased investment.
- Investigate and understand the unknown economy in the presentation of a robust and stimulating package in the national budget.
- Encourage enterprising people to develop more than one job and revenue sources. This is the very reason Jamaicans in the Diaspora have accumulated wealth.
These are surprisingly simple ideas and at the corporate or Government levels are basic requirements for leading and managing change and growth. Encourage the small man and the big firms will have no excuses but to get on with their jobs.
I admit it is a bit Avant garde, but so is COVID and new conditions call for new solutions.
Happy New Year, and I urge you to design 2021 for your success, even while others may appear to give in to the challenges.
God bless you all, and keep you safe.