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Story Highlights

  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, says reducing the debt of the country is one of the main priorities of the Government.
  • Mrs. Simpson Miller stressed that the country cannot continue to borrow its way out of its troubles and has to make the necessary economic adjustments.
  • The Prime Minister said there are signs of improvement in the macro-economic stability of the country, adding that the country’s debt to GDP ratio is declining.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, says reducing the debt of the country is one of the main priorities of the Government.

“This administration has not only been saying that we have to live within our means, we have been doing more with less,” she said.

Making her contribution to the 2014/15 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives on April  30, Mrs. Simpson Miller stressed that the country cannot continue to borrow its way out of its troubles and has to make the necessary economic adjustments.

She added that this is evident with the reduction of the budget over the years, informing that the budget for 2009 was $561 billion; in 2012 it was $610 billion; and for 2014 it is $540 billion.

“We have no other choice but to spend less this year. We have to live within our means,” she said.

The Prime Minister said there are signs of improvement in the macro-economic stability of the country, adding that the country’s debt to GDP ratio is declining.

She added that there is evidence of growth in agriculture, tourism, construction, mining and quarrying.

The Prime Minister said that earlier this year, Fitch Ratings upgraded Jamaica to a ‘B-Minus’ rating and an overall positive outlook.

“The tough decisions we have taken and the painful adjustments we have had to make are bearing fruit. We are seeing encouraging signs. Let me express my profound gratitude to the Jamaican people for making this tremendous sacrifice for the future of our country. It is during the most difficult circumstances that the Jamaican people reveal their courage and resilience,” she said.

In the meantime, the Prime Minister said that to date, the country has successfully passed all quarterly International Monetary Fund (IMF) tests.

She noted that during the initial negotiation phase, the country’s position was that the poor and most vulnerable must be protected in the adjustments.

“We had to remain true to our word, ‘we are balancing the books while balancing people’s lives’,” she said.

The Prime Minister made her presentation under the theme: ‘Going for Growth and Development: Working for the People’.