MONTEGO BAY – Minister of Finance and Planning, Hon. Dr. Peter Phillips, says the Government's economic imperative is to reduce the debt burden and put the country on a solid path for future generations.
He stated that measures such as the Public Debt Management Act, which was passed in the House of Representatives recently, will ensure that "no future generations of Jamaicans will ever have to walk this way again and bear the burden of the kind of debt that has set us back over the past decades."
"Your Government is pursuing every avenue to ensure that generations to come, will have a firmer economic foundation than the one that now exists, and we are confident on the course we are following," Dr. Phillips stated.
He was addressing the third in a series of parish fora, organised by the Social Development Commission (SDC), which was held yesterday (Nov. 22), at the West Jamaica Conference Centre in Mount Salem, St. James.
The Finance Minister said that part of the programme is to ensure that meaningful growth takes place in the economy, noting that focus will be placed on key growth sectors such as Information Communication Technology (ICT).
He said that through US$20 million, which was added to an existing programme in March, the sector will be delivering scores of jobs for young people by year-end, and it is projected to continue on a growth path. "We believe there is a tremendous future for Jamaica in the ICT field," Dr. Phillips expressed.
He acknowledged that measures put in place to relive the debt, including passing a credible budget "has been tough for some Jamaicans", but noted that provisions have been made for the most vulnerable in the society.
"We expanded PATH (Programme for Advancement Through Health and Education), provided $4. 2 billion for the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP), over $2 billion for small business development, and support in that budget," the Minister said.
He assured that the Government will continue to provide the public with relevant information on vital issues. "We are committed to the principle of openness and transparency," he stated.