JIS News

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  • The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) is reporting that the country recorded four consecutive fiscal years of economic growth, following an estimated 1.1 per cent out-turn for 2016/17.
  • Director General, Dr. Wayne Henry, says last year’s figure was underpinned by growth of 2.8 and 0.6 per cent, respectively, recorded in the goods producing and services industries.
  • Dr. Henry said the projected growth for the 2017/18 fiscal year will range between two and three per cent, based on increases in the goods producing and services industries, with the prospects for the April to June quarter being “generally positive”.

The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) is reporting that the country recorded four consecutive fiscal years of economic growth, following an estimated 1.1 per cent out-turn for 2016/17.

Director General, Dr. Wayne Henry, says last year’s figure was underpinned by growth of 2.8 and 0.6 per cent, respectively, recorded in the goods producing and services industries.

This, he noted, despite the January to March 2017 quarter remaining flat, consequent on an estimated 0.5 per cent increase in the services industry and 1.1 per cent decline in the goods producing industry.

The Director General was speaking at the PIOJ’s quarterly media briefing at the agency’s New Kingston head office on Tuesday, May 30.

Dr. Henry said the projected growth for the 2017/18 fiscal year will range between two and three per cent, based on increases in the goods producing and services industries, with the prospects for the April to June quarter being “generally positive”.

The latter outlook, he pointed out, was based on anticipated strengthened performance of most industries, relative to the corresponding quarter in 2016.

The industries that Dr. Henry said contributed to the 2016/17 out-turn included: agriculture, forestry and fishing, which recorded 11.1 per cent growth; electricity and water supply, up 2.5 per cent; and hotels and restaurants, which climbed 1.5 per cent.

The sectors contracting, he pointed out, were mining and quarrying, down 5.7 per cent; and producers of government services, which declined by 0.1 per cent.

“The 2016/17 fiscal year estimate is lower than the initial projection of 1.6 per cent. This is attributed to the downward revision in the performance for January to March 2017,” the Director General said.

He indicated that a lower-than-anticipated out-turn was recorded for agriculture, which declined by 2.5 per cent; mining, which contracted by 10.8 per cent; and manufacturing, 1.1 per cent.

These out-turns, Dr. Henry explained, resulted from adverse weather conditions and factory downtime.

He told journalists that the two to three per cent forecast for 2017/18 was based on projected increases in the goods producing and services industries.

“This baseline forecast is largely predicated on the resumption of operations at Alpart, Jamaica’s largest alumina refinery. Consequently, growth in the mining and quarrying industry is forecast at 40 per cent,” he said.

Additionally, Dr. Henry said increased economic activity was expected to be supported by an increase in global growth.

This, he contends, augurs well for Jamaican export industries, strengthened investor confidence, and favourable weather conditions that would facilitate improved agricultural production.

Dr. Henry said that the 0.5 to 1.5 per cent projection for the April to June quarter is expected to be supported by growth mainly in the hotels and restaurants sector, facilitated by construction of new hotels and expansion of existing properties.

The Director General cautioned, however, that adverse weather conditions is a major risk to the growth projections.

“A recent release from the National Hurricane Center in the United States indicates that 2017 will experience above-normal hurricane activity. Recent events highlight our vulnerability to adverse weather conditions and underscore the need for us, as a country, that while we continue to build our economic infrastructure and business environment, we must continue to build and strengthen our environmental resilience,” Dr. Henry emphasised.