Clarke says Jamaica seeing record level of economic activities

Friday, July 05, 2019

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Minister of Finance and the Public Service Dr Nigel Clarke says the country is experiencing an unprecedented level of economic activity, with 17 consecutive quarters of growth, and unemployment now at the lowest rate in the nation's history.

“We have never had unemployment this low where more people are employed today than those who are unemployed,” the minister pointed out.

“The economic activity all around is staggering in its volume. When you go around Jamaica there is evidence of things taking place; everywhere you go something new is happening. If you haven't visited an area in three months and you are only just going back there, expect to see something you hadn't seen in your previous visit,” he said.

Dr Clarke was delivering the main address at the fund-raising dinner of the East Central St James Education Fund held recently at the Jewel Grande Montego Bay Resort & Spa in Rose Hall, St James.

He noted that the lowering of the central bank policy interest rate, which is now less than one per cent, has helped to spur economic activity by making borrowing more attractive.

“... They have been reduced for the 10th consecutive time. What this means is that businesses can borrow at lower and lower rates and where they are comfortable in knowing that the terms are friendly,” he said.

Dr Clarke said, too, that more houses are being built in Jamaica, with the National Housing Trust taking the lead in that regard, and young people “are getting in on the act by owning their own homes and paying their mortgages”.

“A lot of young persons can now live a more affordable life than their parents could because of the economic opportunities that are there,” he added.

Meanwhile, Dr Clarke said, the policies of the current Administration have opened up the fiscal space to increase investment in development projects.

He said that capital expenditure has increased from $30 billion to $72 billion for the period 2015 to 2019.

“It is the capital expenditure that allows for the improvement in the standard of living. It is the capital expenditure that leads to the improvement in the delivery of service.


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