Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw, has said that Jamaica will utilise the period of the global recession to transform its economy to reduce reliance on foreign exchange.
Speaking to Jamaicans in the Diaspora Thursday night (June 4) at the JN Outlook Series, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S.A. he said there has to be a framework for macro-economic stability to include better management of debt and fiscal operation, as well as eliminate waste and corruption, reform the tax system and create a more effective public sector which realises how critical productivity is for economic growth.
Themed “Economic Imperatives for 2009”, the series of forums is designed to inform the Jamaican community and friends in the Diaspora about the state of the economy, and investment opportunities available in Jamaica.
Minister Shaw provided an update of the challenges facing Jamaica in the global economic crisis, adding that despite these challenges, Jamaica is poised for take-off if the approach is right.
Finance Minister Hon. Audley Shaw (centre) making a point at the JN Outlook Series in Fort Lauderdale on June 4. Looking on are General Manager of Jamaica National Building Society, Mr. Earl Jarrett, who accompanied him on visits to the Jamaica Diaspora and Jamaica’s Consul General to Miami, Sandra Grant Griffiths, (in the background).
He cited tourism as an area generating growth. He said that the productive sector has made a “jump start” for recovery, and that the Government has taken a much more aggressive approach to attracting investments.
Mr. Shaw called on the Diaspora to look for areas for investing in the Jamaica economy. He named agriculture and the agro-food processing industry as having potential. He also listed areas in the health care industry and health tourism for investments.
On the JN series, the Minister said that communicating with the Diaspora was useful, as contributions from the overseas communities were needed to galvanise Jamaica’s recovery.
Finance Minister Hon. Audley Shaw (left) meeting with Mayor Barrington Russell of the City of Lauderdale Lakes (2nd Right), Consul General Sandra Grant Griffiths and Mrs. Carmen Bartlett of Jamaica National Remittance Services, at the JN Outlook Series in Fort Lauderdale yesterday (June 4).
Turning to the “insatiable appetite” of the wider world community for ‘things Jamaican’, the Minister reiterated the need to focus on alternative industries, following the fall of the bauxite industry. He noted that Jamaica has lost some 63% of its export earnings from bauxite/alumina, which has contributed considerably to an adverse balance of trade.
Therefore, he continued, it has become necessary to develop the agricultural infrastructure, in order to capture the market and business of agro-processing, a market that could dwarf the bauxite industry if it is properly geared up.
The Minister pointed out that Jamaica has done much pioneering in the change to ethanol energy use, as part of its approach to realigning the energy sector. He also spoke of the development in technology to lower the cost of energy consumption.
Minister of Finance, Hon. Audley Shaw (centre) meeting Jamaican nationals at the JN Outlook Series held in Fort Lauderdale on June 4. The Minister was in the US to interact with the Diaspora in South Florida and New York about the impact of the global economic crisis on the Jamaican economy.
Turning to crime, the Minister said that social intervention programmes were being introduced to address areas of education, leadership training and small business opportunities, as part of the solution.
These steps are intended to curb violence, especially gang related violence across the nation, and were also important to reducing rural to urban migration and to reinvigorate rural Jamaica to create wealth.
Continuing the JN Outlook series, the Minister travels next to New York, where he will interact with the Jamaican Diaspora in the northeastern United States communities.
Mr. Shaw was introduced, at the function, by General Manager of the Jamaica National Building Society, Earl Jarrett.
Consul General Sandra Grant Griffiths echoed sentiments of encouragement to the Diaspora nationals, to seize opportunities to investing in their homeland, as well as to engage in solutions and mutual partnerships for national recovery.
A presentation titled “Investing to Build Jamaica” was done by Deputy President, Jamaica Trade and Invest (JTI), Lisa Bell.