Jamaicans will soon feel benefits of economic recovery, says Holness
KINGSTON, Jamaica— Prime Minister Andrew Holness says Jamaicans will soon feel the benefits of what he said was the Government’s sound management of the economy and strong recovery from COVID-19.
He was addressing the official launch of the Red Stripe Cellars Expansion for Beer Production (CERS) project on Tuesday at the plant’s Spanish Town Road location in Kingston.
“I guarantee that within a year or two, we will start to feel the economic effect of the recovery on the individual household. As a Government, we are making sure that we maintain the economic pathways that will deliver success and at the same time take on the many social challenges that will improve quality of life,” Holness said.
“Great things are happening in the country. There is a lag effect. Companies will probably feel it before consumers, but the benefit will not just trickle down; the benefit will flow through the economy, so that everyone can genuinely and truly feel the effect of good economic management and good governance of the country and the economy,” the prime minister assured.
Jamaica’s economy is estimated to have expanded by 3.4 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2022, signaling the country’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The economy officially grew by 5.8 per cent in the third quarter of 2022; 4.8 per cent in the second quarter; and 6.5 per cent in the first quarter.
In addition, April 2022 figures show employment at 1,269,300, representing the highest number of persons holding jobs in Jamaica’s recorded history.
However, external shocks, including the pandemic, inflation driven primarily by high oil prices and its consequent impact on supply chains, have delayed the consumer experience of these economic gains.
“The challenge for the Government going forward is to ensure that these great things are translated for the ordinary person to appreciate and feel a part of this great achievement, this great accomplishment, this great recovery,” Holness said.
He noted that key to ensuring that the gains flow to Jamaicans is maintaining the programme of fiscal prudence to secure continued investment and economic growth; keeping taxes low and getting inflation to targeted levels and ensuring that this remains stable and predictable.
“The Government has to continue good, sound fiscal policies to ensure that investments can continue. We have to ensure that we maintain that recovery, that we maintain that growth, that we maintain that very low unemployment rate but most importantly, that we maintain our fiscal stance of prudent expenditure,” the prime minister added.
Red Stripe’s CERS project, undertaken at a cost of $2.2 billion, has extended the cellars’ storage to allow for the production of one million hectolitres (hl) of beer per year, representing a 34 per cent increase in capacity.
The project was designed to address an urgent need to increase capacity to satisfy the growing demand for Red Stripe products and rectify the technical issues of the existing horizontal beer storage tank blocks.