JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Finance and Planning Minister, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, says the country stands to benefit from several opportunities, resulting from devaluation of the Jamaican dollar.
  • The Finance Minister also cited local production of cassava as a substitute for imported malt base products for use in the brewing of beer, pointing out that this “can result in (the creation of) thousands of agricultural and agro-processing jobs.”
  • Dr. Phillips assured that “we have tried to ease the pressure by expanding social welfare expenditures in the budget for the most vulnerable.”

Finance and Planning Minister, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, says the country stands to benefit from several opportunities, resulting from devaluation of the Jamaican dollar.

Speaking at the recent monthly meeting of the Rotary Club of New Kingston at Chasers Café, St. Andrew, Dr. Phillips said there is potential for a “whole range of investment activity”, which was not previously possible because the dollar was deemed “uncompetitive”.

Citing animal feed as one potential area, Dr. Phillips said “we (have been able to) move from a situation where there was no domestic…production from local root stock…to (a situation) now where there are thousands of acres of sorghum (and) corn, adding that cultivation of these crops “is becoming more competitive.”

The Finance Minister also cited local production of cassava as a substitute for imported malt base products for use in the brewing of beer, pointing out that this “can result in (the creation of) thousands of agricultural and agro-processing jobs.”

He also pointed to the opportunity for tourism expansion, through hotel construction. He cited the reduction in the value of imports as another “element of the working of it (devaluation).”

“But, the most important point to note is simply that…when you have an overvalued currency, in effect, what you are doing is exporting your jobs and allowing (persons) overseas to produce for your consumption, rather than allowing your own producer to get the benefit of that productive activity. Much of this is to be seen because the workout of…new production systems will take some time (to develop),” he stated.

In acknowledging the challenges associated with devaluation of the dollar,

Dr. Phillips assured that “we have tried to ease the pressure by expanding social welfare expenditures in the budget for the most vulnerable.”