Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding said, last night, that despite some encouraging signs of economic recovery, the Government was still concerned about its sustainability.
“Even though the rate of decline is slowing down; even though the remittances are looking up for two months; even though the latest business confidence survey suggests some improvement in the level of business confidence, marginal though it is, three swallows do not a summer make,” Mr. Golding said.
“We still have a long way to go, we still have serious hurdles to overhaul,” he cautioned.
Mr. Golding was speaking to a hall full of students attending his 8th Town Hall Meeting, hosted by Taylor Hall in the Assembly Hall of the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Kingston, last night (Tuesday).
Minister of Education, Hon. Andrew Holness, gestures as he answers questions from students at last night’s (October 6) Town Hall Meeting on the Mona campus of the UWI
The Prime Minister said there were obvious signs that a recovery could be starting, but admitted that it was “too early to tell”.
One such sign was a report from the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) that the remittances for August, 2009, were eight per cent over August, 2008.
“The figures have not been published yet, but I was advised today that September was also a good month, in terms of what was the experience last year,” he explained.
But, he warned that even if there is a recovery, it could be a ‘W’ shaped one, instead of the ‘U’ shaped recovery being sought.
What is clear, the Prime Minister said, is that a global economic recovery is not going to be an “overnight affair”. He noted that, in any case, Jamaica lags behind in the global economy and, therefore, any genuine recovery would be evident in major cities, like New York in the USA and London England, before Kingston.
He stated that because of the massive curtailment of productive capacity that has occurred since the recession began, what is being interpreted as signs of recovery, may really be a response to the fact that inventories and productive capacities were so depleted by the crisis.
“And if that is so, you would really be seeing the shape of a ‘W’. I do really hope that is not so,” he concluded.
The other speaker at the meeting was Minister of Education, Hon. Andrew Holness, who addressed a number of issues, including the future financing of tertiary education.
The Town Hall Meetings are being held by Mr. Golding to discuss Government’s policies and programmes and to explain the 2009/10 budget.