PSOJ calls on PIOJ to explain growth measures

Friday, April 20, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) is calling on the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) to explain to the nation how the institution measures growth for the country.

The call was made during a television broadcast last evening in which PSOJ President Howard Mitchell expressed that the picture painted by the IMF does not match the empirical evidence on the ground, as the nation's unemployment rate is at the lowest in recent decades.

“The employed labour force is at its highest since independence. You see cranes and construction equipment all over Kingston, the Net International Reserves (NIR) is at its highest, the stock market is doing well. Foreign Exchange is stable and there is a significant improvement in nonperforming loans,” the PSOJ quoted Mitchell as saying during the broadcast on CVM TV.

“What gets measured?” he asked, suggesting that perhaps, “...we are not measuring what is getting done and it could be that the underground economy is not on the scale of measurement for the PIOJ and STATIN (Statistical Institute of Jamaica)”.

He specified that “maybe we are not measuring what is really happening with the economy and I am not justifying illegal activity. I am simply saying that the theoretical measurement tools and the empirical facts are not adding up and we need to take time to examine that”.

Mitchell also highlighted that in the face of what is physical evidence, our growth rate continues to be less than one per cent.

Responding to the recent fall in business confidence and the ease of doing business in Jamaica, he maintained that after a long period of no growth, there cannot be overnight confidence in the market.

“Everybody thinks that after 43 years of no growth people are just going to spin around and take on huge investments and jump into things but it doesn't work that way.”

Noting that “It takes time to mobilise finances,” the president pointed to the number of applications for construction approval and the number of new business loans before the banks, saying “If this is not growth I'd really love the PIOJ to explain”.

The PSOJ president ended by appealing for a review of the measurement tools being used to capture growth as, “we do not have a theoretical economy. There is money in the economy how it is being measured is a different story”.




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