Private Investors show Confidence in Local Economy

Photo: Donald Delahaye Co-Chair of the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC), Richard Byles.

Story Highlights

  • Co-Chair of the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC), Richard Byles, says there is indication that increasingly, private investors are buying into the local economy, as the country continues to reflect economic improvements.
  • Mr. Byles said he believes the Jamaican public, especially those on the North Coast and in the western parishes, are beginning to experience the benefits of the economic improvements achieved through the Government’s Economic Reform Programme (ERP)
  • “People can see that something is happening…I think that even in the Kingston area, people are beginning to see some small green shoots that the economic programme that we are on is producing some results,” Mr. Byles said.

Co-Chair of the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC), Richard Byles, says there is indication that increasingly, private investors are buying into the local economy, as the country continues to reflect economic improvements.

“If you speak to manufacturers, they will tell you that they are investing. Confidence has come back pretty strongly in recent times,” he said.

Mr. Byles was responding to questions on the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) television programme, ‘Issues & Answers’, on January 22.

He also encouraged more Jamaican business owners and corporate entities to invest, particularly in the tourism sector, adding that there is opportunity for the Jamaican government to drive further investment in this area.

“We need more and I think that the Government can do more to introduce and usher Jamaican business people into that area,” Mr. Byles said.

Meanwhile, the EPOC Co-Chair, pointed out that all the macro-economic indicators continue to be positive.

“The debt to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is better, the current account is better, inflation is lower, and employment is better. Everything that you can factually assess the economy on, is better,” he noted.

Mr. Byles said he believes the Jamaican public, especially those on the North Coast and in the western parishes, are beginning to experience the benefits of the economic improvements achieved through the Government’s Economic Reform Programme (ERP).

He said this is evident in the 80 per cent occupancy of hotels in those areas, as well as in the fact that some 18,000 persons have been hired in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector. Some 2,000 hotel rooms have also been refurbished and added to the tourism product, and others are under construction.

“People can see that something is happening…I think that even in the Kingston area, people are beginning to see some small green shoots that the economic programme that we are on is producing some results,” Mr. Byles said.

At an EPOC press briefing  on January 15, it was revealed that measured against the Government’s budget, the country produced a Primary Surplus of $55.8 billion, compared to a budget of $50.5 billion for the fiscal year to November.

The Net International Reserve (NIR), as at the end of December, stood at US2.44 billion, which is US$800 million in excess of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) target of US$1.64 billion for the end of December.

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