Collaborative Approach Needed to Position Jamaica for Economic Upturn – BOJ Governor


Governor of the Bank of Jamaica (BoJ), Derick Latibeaudiere, has pointed to the need for a collaborative approach, among government and private sector interests, to ensure that Jamaica is well positioned to benefit from the expected upturn in the global economy.
Mr. Latibeaudiere was speaking at the quarterly press briefing at the BoJ’s auditorium, downtown Kingston on Wednesday (Feb. 18), where he reported that the Jamaican economy was estimated to have declined during the period October to December 2008.
He suggested that the speed with which the economy recovers would lie heavily on how soon the rest of the world rebounds, and how well the country is prepared for the expected upturn.
“So, even as we continue to be mindful of the challenges that are still upon us, we must continue to build the necessary safeguards for the future. It is critical for all parties concerned to make their contribution in helping us lay a sound foundation for a sustainable recovery,” the Governor stated.
He pointed out that the BoJ is contributing to limiting the impact of the crisis, as well as implementing sound policies, in anticipation of the upturn.
“We continue to maintain a medium-term perspective and a suitable-oriented and sustainable approach to monetary and macroeconomic policy. This, we believe, is the best way to preserve and enhance confidence. But, we need the full support and cooperation of the private sector, to maintain discipline in the financial and exchange markets,” he stated.
He added that “as we move forward, the Bank will continue to carefully assess the future outlook for economic activity and prices, as well as the risk factors, and we will implement monetary policy appropriately. We will also carefully consider the opportunities for monetary policy, to enhance the environment for sustainable long-term growth.”
Agriculture, electricity, and water were estimated to have grown during the review period, while hotels and restaurants, mining and quarrying, and transportation services were among the main sectors estimated to have declined or recorded weak growth. The tradable and non-tradable sectors were estimated to have contracted due to light of reduced domestic and external demands.
“The Bank’s forecast suggests that the economy will continue to experience negative growth in the March quarter,” the BoJ Governor said. The forecast is based on estimates that the recession would continue, at least, into the middle of 2009.
Given the inflation forecast for the March quarter of 1.5 per cent to 2.5 per cent, gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the fiscal year is projected to decline in the range of zero to two per cent, he further advised.
Mr. Latibeaudiere said, however, that, notwithstanding the challenges, experience has shown that “things change”, and the implementation of sound policies would eventually bear fruit.

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