Mr. Speaker, my contribution to this Sectoral Debate seeks to inform this Honourable House of the significant gains that have been made in the Public Sector during the 2013-2014 fiscal year, as well as the remaining challenges going forward into 2014-2015.
My presentation will focus on the Government’s efforts to meet its commitments to modernise the public sector, which itself is a fundamental plank of Jamaica’s economic reform programme.
Mr. Speaker, this programme of reform on which the Government has embarked, is concentrated on macro-economic stability, through the elimination of the fiscal deficit and consequential reduction of Jamaica’s national debt, as well as, the promotion of fiscal discipline as solid foundations for achieving sustainable growth and development.
Mr. Speaker, it should be well understood by now, that successful implementation of Public Sector Transformation, Pension Reform and the overhauling of the Public Procurement regime, are essential to meeting the targets and goals of the economic reform programme. Tremendous strides have been made and as my colleague Minister, Dr. Peter Phillips disclosed in his opening budget statement 2014-2015:
- The IMF Agreement is in place and on sound footing. Jamaica has met all its obligations and passed all quarterly tests and met ALL benchmarks;
- The latest IMF review, which was done in May, concluded that the country’s overall economic performance, under the programme, remains strong;
- The economic outlook is improving, crisis risks have retreated, growth has picked up, inflation has been brought under control, and our reserves are starting to improve:
- The current account deficit of the balance of payments declined to an estimated 9.6% of GDP in 2013 down from 12.9% in 2012;
- The NIR recovered to US$1.376b at the end of June 2014;
- Jamaica has recorded three consecutive quarters of growth. In fact, the World Bank’s Global Economic Prospects (GEP), in its latest report, revised upward the growth prospects for Jamaica, projecting growth at 1.1% in 2014, 1.3% in 2015 and 1.7% in 2016. According to the GEP report, Jamaica saw the largest fiscal improvement in the region, going from a deficit of more than 4% in 2012 to a surplus of 0.1% of GDP in 2013. This is the best performance since 1995…READ MORE