Bank on agri, tourism to spur growth
WITH THE Jamaican economy perennially experiencing anaemic growth, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sagicor Group Jamaica Richard Byles is unwavering in his suggestion that agriculture and tourism are among the top two sectors that can provide real opportunities for economic expansion.
He produced data which show that currently, trading contributes the most to the Jamaican economy, at 17 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP).
At the same time, manufacturing, the fifth-largest sector, contributes under 10 per cent of GDP; tourism, the sixth largest, adds just six per cent; and agriculture, the seventh-largest, contributes under 7 per cent of GDP.
Byles, addressing a press conference in New Kingston recently, asked to what extent the Government was looking to those areas to stimulate economic growth and said: “I think it must be a logical conclusion from the Economic Growth Council that these sectors of the economy have real opportunities for expansion.”
However, “the who is going to do it? The how? What is needed to stimulate it? Those are all more intricate questions that need to be answered by the EGC”.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness earlier this year appointed the council to consult widely and to advise Cabinet on a collection of broad platform policies and reforms to facilitate economic growth.
According to Byles, “to get some other sector to grow, to grow the economy, you have to really steam it up. And agriculture, which is just short of 7 per cent (of GDP), is an opportunity: it employs people, it produces goods that save us foreign exchange or may even earn us foreign exchange.”