Business Confidence at All-Time High

Photo: JIS Photographer Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw. (FILE)

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw, says business confidence in Jamaica is at an all-time high.
  • He informed that the latest Business Confidence Index for December 2016 shows a 15.4 per cent increase compared to the index in the last quarter of 2015.
  • The Minister added that the economy is performing in line with the macroeconomic programme and the outlook remains “very promising”.

Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw, says business confidence in Jamaica is at an all-time high.

Addressing the House of Representatives on January 17, he informed that the latest Business Confidence Index for December 2016 shows a 15.4 per cent increase compared to the index in the last quarter of 2015.

“This was reported to be the best four quarters recorded in 15 years. It is also instructive that for the fourth consecutive quarter, the willingness of firms to invest in new plant and equipment is at an all-time high,” Mr. Shaw said.

Opening the debate on the first Supplementary Estimates for the 2016/17 fiscal year, Mr. Shaw said credit to the productive sectors rose by 13.2 per cent over the 12 months through October 2016, with lending mainly in the areas of tourism, distribution and construction.

“These developments have been supported by a steady decline in lending rates. As an indication, interest rates on new commercial loans were 15 per cent in September 2016, down from 17 per cent in September 2015,” he noted.

The Minister added that the economy is performing in line with the macroeconomic programme and the outlook remains “very promising”.

Meanwhile, Mr. Shaw said the country is on track with its fiscal targets, based on performance of the budget through December.

He noted that the primary balance surplus was $70 billion, which was significantly above the target of $54 billion. Overall revenues and grants were $17.7 billion ahead of target, and tax revenues were ahead by $10.1 billion. Taxes from Pay As You Earn (PAYE) overperformed by $3.5 billion or by 7.8 per cent through December.

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