JIS News

Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding says there has been a slow down in the rate of decline in the economy and based on reports he has received, remittances for August have shown an improvement of 8 per cent, compared to the figures for August last year.
The Prime Minister was speaking at his 8th Town Hall meeting in the Assembly Hall at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona campus, on October 6.
Mr. Golding said September’s remittances had also shown an improvement over last year. Before the recession, Jamaica was benefiting from remittances by up to $2.2 billion a year, but that too had been badly hit as many overseas Jamaicans were among those who lost their jobs.
The Prime Minister warned that “even though the rate of decline is slowing down and the remittances are looking up for the last two months; even though the latest business confidence shows there are some improvement…we still have a long way to go, we still have serious hurdles to overcome.”
He told the large gathering, dominated by students, that the Government had engaged in negotiations with the IMF on a standby agreement, “which is something we were forced to do, because of the impact the global recession has had on the country.”
Mr. Golding noted two thirds of the country’s bauxite earnings have disappeared and based on projections, remittances would be down by as much as $360 million this year, while exports have generally taken a beating.
“When you lose that kind of level of your foreign exchange earnings, it means you don’t have the resources to pay for the things you need…the oil that you need, the medicine that you have to import and the basic food items that we do not produce. If we did not secure an alternative source of foreign exchange, there would be such a mad scramble to buy the US dollar, that the price would take off with such a vengeance that is not ordinary,” Mr. Golding said.
He explained again that if government gets the $1.2 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), that money would go to the Bank of Jamaica, so that when foreign exchange is needed to pay the bill for oil and other essential imports, it can be sourced without having to pay high rates of up to $150 for the dollar.

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