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  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says Jamaica is poised to enter a period of sustainable economic growth as evidenced by, among other things, extensive investments in infrastructure developments either now under way or programmed for implementation.
  • Among these, he noted, are significant engagements in commercial, industrial and residential construction as well as the country’s road, telecommunications, water, sewerage and electricity network.
  • “There is a very wide infrastructural agenda for Jamaica and we have been able to enter this phase of growth because we have managed to bring some order to our fiscal affairs. I wouldn’t say we have [totally] solved the fiscal issues of Jamaica… but we are close to doing that,” he said.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says Jamaica is poised to enter a period of sustainable economic growth as evidenced by, among other things, extensive investments in infrastructure developments either now under way or programmed for implementation.

Among these, he noted, are significant engagements in commercial, industrial and residential construction as well as the country’s road, telecommunications, water, sewerage and electricity network.

“There is a very wide infrastructural agenda for Jamaica and we have been able to enter this phase of growth because we have managed to bring some order to our fiscal affairs. I wouldn’t say we have [totally] solved the fiscal issues of Jamaica… but we are close to doing that,” he said.

The Prime Minister was part of a panel discussion that also involved the Cayman Islands’ Minister of Commerce, Planning and Infrastructure, Joseph Hew, during the Caribbean Infrastructure Conference (CARIF) at the AC Marriott in Kingston on Tuesday (January 21), under the theme ‘Growth, Innovation and Sustainability’.

Meanwhile, Mr. Holness said Jamaica’s experience should serve as a lesson to the administrations of other countries facing economic challenges, of the need to ensure the stability of their fiscal affairs before embarking on major engagements, or risk having to resort to financing through debt programmes.

He noted that while some of Jamaica’s infrastructure projects were financed via debt arrangements, the country has been able to negotiate special funding arrangements.

Among these, the Prime Minister said, is the Major Infrastructure Development Programme (MIDP), which has been supported through special arrangements with the People’s Republic of China.

He pointed out that this has helped to facilitate the expansion of Jamaica’s infrastructure at a time when the country did not have the resources to execute the associated developments.

“We were able to have that infrastructure expand our revenue-earning capacity; better roads, better buildings, greater connectivity [which] leads to more commerce, [and] more resources in the Government’s coffers, which has put us in a better fiscal position,” Mr. Holness said.

The Prime Minister said consequent on Jamaica’s macroeconomic gains, inclusive of a reduction in the debt to gross domestic product (GDP) from over 140 per cent to 93 per cent, the Government has taken steps to exercise prudence with the fiscal space that has been created, and to continue to dedicate a large portion of resources that have been generated to infrastructure development.

Hence, he said that the next phase of the country’s expansion project, the Greater Infrastructure Development Programme, will focus on greater connectivity around the island.

For his part, Minister Hew underscored the need for multi-stakeholder collaborations at all levels to enable countries to achieve sustainable growth and development.

“I challenge us all to have several perspectives when we discuss this because… we are talking about the future of our countries, and so we should take [all] things into considerations as we move forward,” he said.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer for CIBC First Caribbean Bank, Collette Delaney, urged regional governments and other relevant stakeholders to seek and develop financial solutions that support sustainable investment.

She cited the need for special focus on building resilience and strengthening territories’ capacity to adapt and recover, in light of the Caribbean’s challenges with climate change.

The two-day conference, which seeks to promote discussion, interaction and exchange ideas among participants from the region’s energy market, is being co-hosted by the Development Bank of Jamaica and Jamaica Promotions Corporation.

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