Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton has assured that there will be no return to a regime of high interest rates, emphasizing his administration's commitment to policies, which will achieve low interest rates and low inflation.
The Minister's reassurance was in response to concerns raised by immediate past president of the Jamaica Manufacturer’s Association (JMA), Omar Azan during a visit by representatives of the organization, to the Ministry in New Kingston on January 16.
According to Mr. Azan, anxiety of a return to high interest rates has been triggered by the stated “possible reengagement" of the previous Governor of the Bank of Jamaica, given the rates of interest that prevailed during his tenure.
However, Minister Hylton emphatically dismissed the issue of a high interest rate policy, noting that, "there is no such policy position… I am not aware of it and I have been in all the discussions."
The Minister said that it is worth remembering that “these things (moderation of interest rates) occurred in a context."
"We have had significant structural adjustments …not the least of which was the JDX (Jamaica Debt Exchange) which happened in a particular context. Those decisions having been taken and the structural adjustments that were made…I don’t see anyone working to reverse those adjustments. What we need to do is to take advantage of (the adjustment) for which all of us as a population paid a tremendous price,” he observed.
The Minister explained that “the structural adjustment occurred in significant ways and nobody in this administration is working to reverse any of that because a person would be crazy to think that a high interest rate policy is desirable”.
Mr. Hylton further stated that he was unaware of the role that the “particular individual will play…but I think that everybody accepts that a low interest rate regime and a low inflation rate policy is desirable."