Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. Nigel Clarke, in a recent report noted that Jamaica is experiencing an unprecedented level of economic activity with 17 consecutive quarters of growth and unemployment now at the lowest rate in the nation’s history.
“We have never had unemployment this low where more people are employed today than those who are unemployed,” the Minister stated.
“The economic activity all around is staggering in its volume. When you go around Jamaica there is evidence of things taking place…; everywhere you go something new is happening. If you haven’t visited an area in three months and you are only just going back there, expect to see something you hadn’t seen in your previous visit,” he continued.
Dr. Clarke noted that the lowering of the central bank policy interest rate, which is now less than one percent, has helped to spur economic activity by making borrowing more attractive.
“When you look at where interest rates are… they have been reduced for the 10th consecutive time. What this means is that businesses can borrow at lower and lower rates and where they are comfortable in knowing that the terms are friendly,” he said.
He further noted that more houses are being built in Jamaica, with the National Housing Trust (NHT) taking the lead in that regard, and young people “are getting in on the act by owning their own homes and paying their mortgages”.
“A lot of young persons can now live a more affordable life than their parents could because of the economic opportunities that are there,” he added.
He touted the policies of the current Administration by stating that more fiscal space has been opened to increase investment in development projects.
He stated that capital expenditure has increased from $30 billion to $72 billion for the period 2015 to 2019.
“It is the capital expenditure that allows for the improvement in the standard of living. It is the capital expenditure that leads to the improvement in the delivery of service.”
“We are allocating $1 billion to the Ministry of National Security for the procurement of 1,000 police vehicles, and we are doing the same in the sum of $3 billion to the Ministry of Health and Wellness in infrastructural work at the Cornwall Regional Hospital,” Dr. Clarke said.
Yvad Billings Readers Bureau, Fellow
Edited by Jesus Chan
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