JIS News

Prime Minister P. J. Patterson has said that the country’s external creditors have been assured that Jamaica would meet all its obligations when they become due.
In a broadcast to the nation on Sunday (Sept. 19), Mr. Patterson said the confidence of the private capital market in the Jamaican economy had been maintained despite the effects of Hurricane Ivan, as demonstrated by the fact that bond prices were still trading at pre-hurricane levels.
He stated that as the country recovered from the hurricane, the target was to shorten the time it would take to recover full earnings from the tourism and bauxite sectors. The Prime Minister said the government, could not at this time, give a clear indication of what adjustments, if any, would have to be made to the economic targets for the rest of the fiscal year, until a precise estimate of the cost of reconstruction was available.
“Our goal is to restore production capabilities in as short a time frame as possible so that the momentum in economic activity we enjoyed in the first eight months of this year is quickly regained,” Mr. Patterson stated.
He pointed out that the government would keep the investment pipeline flowing, adding that development projects including the construction of new hotels remained on track. Mr. Patterson noted further, that a strong signal had been sent that Jamaica had reopened for business, based on the remarkably short time it took for the two international airports to resume operations.
While noting that the damage to the agriculture sector, including fisheries, would affect domestic food supplies, the Prime Minister stressed that there was adequate supplies of food and petroleum products available to meet present requirements and that there was sufficient foreign exchange reserves to satisfy the additional import bill.
Prime Minister Patterson is scheduled to make a full report to Parliament on Tuesday (Sept. 21), about the decisions of Cabinet relating to policy issues and programmes, which affect the relief and reconstruction efforts. The Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. Omar Davies is also expected to reveal the projections pertaining to the economic impact of Hurricane Ivan.

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