Holness says Jamaica could exceed four-year growth target
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (second right) is joined by (from left) ATL Group Deputy Chairman and CEO Adam Stewart Economic Growth Council (EGC) Chairman Michael Lee-Chin, and Nigel Clarke, ambassador plenipotentiary for economic affairs, to celebrate during Monday night’s signing ceremony and call to action at the Courtleigh Auditorium in New Kingston. PRIME MINISTER Andrew Holness has indicated that economic growth could, in four years, exceed the five-per-cent target set by his administration.
Holness has established an Economic Growth Council (EGC) that has a mandate to help the Government achieve five per cent gross domestic product (GDP) growth in four years.
On Monday night, addressing the signing of a declaration of intent to implement the EGC proposals, Holness said Jamaica “deserved results” and that the so-called ‘5 in 4’ target could be exceeded.
He noted the sacrifices made by Jamaicans under the fouryear deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“There’s no question about it. We will grow and we will probably grow faster than five per cent. The world is now paying attention,” Holness said, pointing to the tough measures imposed under the IMF deal.
“This Government will make sure that we are faithful to the sacrifices that the people have paid. We deserve results. We will make Jamaica the great country that we were destined to be.”
THE TAX-BREAK PROMISE
Holness’ projection comes a week after finance minister Audley Shaw reported that Jamaica recorded 2.3 per cent growth for the July to September quarter, the highest in a single quarter since 2002.
But crime continues to impede growth with calls for funds to be diverted from fulfilling the tax-break election promise to provide more resources to the security forces.
Nevertheless, a confident EGC chairman, Michael LeeChin, re-asserted that the growth target would be achieved.
“I wouldn’t have stuck my neck out,” he said when asked if the target will be met.
He pointed to favourable indicators such as low energy and telecom prices, the support of the international financial institutions, the Opposition and the Government.
Holness established the EGC to propose growth initiatives and monitor their implementation.
Some of them have been included in the proposed standby agreement that the board of the IMF is to consider this month.
The Planning Institute of Jamaica has projected 1.7 per cent GDP growth this fiscal year.
Over the last 20 years, Jamaica has averaged GDP growth of 0.5 per cent per annum.