JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The many economic sacrifices which the country has made are beginning to yield positive results
  • Business confidence will improve further with Jamaica having passed the first quarterly IMF test
  • The best measure of confidence is the boost in the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) index

Minister of Finance and Planning, Hon. Dr. Peter Phillips, says the many economic sacrifices which the country has had to make over the past few months are beginning to yield positive results.

“Already, there are hopeful signs on the economic horizon that I think it would do us well to pay attention to,” the Minister told business stakeholders on Thursday, August 29.

“The results of all of this (sacrifice) are beginning to be seen in a positive way and we are beginning to turn the ship of our economy in a positive direction,” he added.

Dr. Phillips was addressing the Jamaica Deposit Insurance Corporation’s (JDIC) Financial Markets Symposium and Fair held at the Bank of Jamaica auditorium in downtown Kingston.

Among the encouraging economic signs, the Minister highlighted, is the “slight but important and significant improvement” in investor confidence resulting from the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) approval of the Extended Fund Facility for Jamaica in May of this year.

Dr. Phillips predicted that this business confidence will improve further with Jamaica having passed the first quarterly IMF test.

Also, he noted that the country’s inflation targets have not only been met, but have been exceeded, pointing out that inflation in the June quarter was more than one per cent below the forecast range of two to three per cent.

“We did exceed also our targets for the Net International Reserves (NIR) set for the June quarter and based upon the evidence, thus far, in the second quarter, we are seeing the prospect of a return to growth,” Dr. Phillips stated.

He said that perhaps the best measure of the improvement in confidence is to be seen in the boost in the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) index over the last few months, with growth of close to six per cent over the April to June quarter.

The Finance Minister remarked that also among the positives is the fact that the Central Treasury Management System, which was scheduled for completion as part of the economic programme for March 2014, has been implemented six months ahead of schedule.

“This is perhaps the best news of all, from my point of view, and for which the public officials in the Ministry of Finance and the other Ministries are to be commended,” he stated.

He noted that the implementation of the system, which deals with the overall management of public sector finances, means that Jamaica is no longer paying interest to borrow its own money from the private financiers. This, he said, will result in significant savings for the Consolidated Fund and for smoother management of public resources.

The Finance Minister, while hailing the positive developments, cautioned that much more needs to be done, as the country remains in a period of significant economic change.