Holness lists economic policies, training, infrastructure among successes

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Holness lists economic policies, training, infrastructure among successes

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Prime Minister Andrew Holness last night rattled off a list of actions taken by his Administration over the past four-and-a-half years which he said reflected strong economic policies.

Speaking in Parliament during the final sitting of the current term, Holness said the administration enjoyed sustained approval ratings, even after facing a pandemic. He said this has been the result of the collective hard work of the people of Jamaica and effective leadership of the Government.

“Mr Speaker, this Government under good leadership and administration, the interest rates were reduced 10 times since 2018, leading to the lowest levels of interest rates for mortgages and consumer loans in the history of Jamaica. We introduced the tourism workers' pension scheme giving 100,000 tourism workers the opportunity to earn a pension,” he said.

“Mr Speaker, we broadened the ownership of economy with 30,000 Jamaicans becoming shareholders of Wigton and TransJamaica Highway,” Holness continued.

The prime minister also pointed to the abolition of the minimum business tax, the introduction of the first-time $350,000-MSME tax credit, and the increased income tax threshold.

The 1.5 per cent reduction in GCT, the 7.2 per cent unemployment rate and a 40 per cent reduction in poverty across the island also came up for mention, with Holness adding that consumers and fixed income earners have enjoyed “the most stable period of low inflation in Jamaica”.

Holness underscored that the Jamaican economy grew for 18 consecutive quarters, 14 of which were under the Jamaica Labour Party-led Government, making it the longest quarterly economic growth since measuring quarterly growth in 1997.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister pointed to the HOPE Programme, HEART/NSTA, and the National Service Corps as tangible programmes implemented and improved on by the administration.

“We implemented the HOPE programme; 26,000 Jamaican youths got a second chance through apprenticeship-type programmes. The HEART NSTA Trust saw 146,000 Jamaicans being trained. And one programme, Mr Speaker, that I am particularly proud of, the National Service Corps [in which] we have seen over 2,000 Jamaican youngsters being exposed to training under the Jamaica Defence Force,” said Holness.

The Prime Minister also underlined successes in infrastructural development, noting that extensive work has been done on roads and bridges across the country, which promise reduced travel time and increased economic activity.

Holness also listed the Government's development of Port Royal with the opening of the new cruise ship pier there.

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