JIS News

Finance and Planning Minister, Dr. Omar Davies, has said that the Government remained committed to the national airline, Air Jamaica, despite the challenges.
“I don’t think any government of Jamaica will step away from Air Jamaica completely. We need to straighten out the financials, we need to do re-fleeting and restructuring. But as soon as we have sorted this out, we may look at offering shares. The government is committed to Air Jamaica, but we have to trim the losses and bring it to something that we can justify, given the competing needs,” he said.
Dr. Davies, who was speaking at a recent community meeting in London, was responding to a suggestion that the Government should offer shares in the national airline to Jamaicans living in the Diaspora, to ensure that the airline keeps flying.
In a presentation that included an overview of the island’s economic progress, the Finance Minister said in spite of some challenges, the economy was on track, stability had been maintained and the country was on track to meet its fiscal targets. He said the country would end the year with inflation of about seven per cent.
“If you ask me what I am proudest about during my tenure, the first is the focus on reducing inflation.It’s been a good year for a host of reasons; the weather has been good, agriculture has recovered and there has not been any major rise in prices, although oil prices remain high,” he said.
He said the Government projected to increase tax revenue by 20 per cent during this fiscal year, without any tax increase, as the programme to bring about greater equity to ensure that those who have not been paying their fair share are brought into the tax net, was showing signs of success.
Minister Davies also noted that tourism has seen sustained record growth over the last three years.”Every year, for the last three years, has been a record year but this year has been amazing. The increase has been over 16 per cent.In fact, we are running out of facilities in terms of cruise ships. The Port Authority is seeking to acquire additional property in Ocho Rios to expand the cruise ship facilities,” he pointed out.