Tuesday, May 1, 2012

PC GOVERNMENT FAILING TO DIVERSIFY THE ECONOMY

This government is not the keen on accountability when it it comes to it's many failures.

They have often accepted credit for all of the revenue for oil and minerals created by world demand, but when it comes to the diversification of the provincial economy, they have a lot of accounting to do.

The opposition Liberals have been chasing the governments failure and aggressively exposing the need for more funding to grow local businesses. 

CBC News exposed the failure of the government to attract outside firms to the province pointing out that 98.5 per cent of the funds budgeted for the job last year were unused. This year, the fund will decrease from $29 million to 12.5 million. Other funds earmarked for business attraction funds have been slashed as well.

This on the heels of at least two high profile speeches over the past few months where the Premier has espoused the need to diversify the economy and lessen our reliance on oil and gas revenues.  What gives? One day it is diversify or perish, the next month they slash the “suite of programs for business and economic development.

Despite spending tens of millions through the business attraction fund there are only a hand full of jobs, mostly seasonal, to show for it.

The lack of success, or attention to diversification  caught the attention of the Auditor General who pointed out in his last report that of the $137.4 million slated for business-attraction initiatives from 2006 to 2011,  less than 15 per cent was spent.

Innovation Minister Keith Hutchings seems to be throwing his hands up in the air and giving up. He says it is a competitive process and "When opportunities come forward we engage with foreign investors to come to this province" but what about engaging with them first and selling Newfoundland and Labrador as a place to do business.

A lot of opportunities must have been missed if the old Business department was not out on the hustings. Waiting for jobs to come to us seems like a poor approach.

Lets face it, with exception of projects negotiated by previous governments, and the capacity this has created, this province has been  de-industrializing since 2003!









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