Minister of Finance Dr. Nigel Clarke has emphasized the importance of the many sacrifices and reforms in realizing the progress that has taken place so far.
Dr. Clarke, who was in New York on a working visit to the United Nations on Monday, April 15, was a special guest on the Bloomberg Markets programme, ‘The Close’.
He was interviewed by the show’s co-hosts Caroline Hyde and Scarlet Fu on matters related to Jamaica’s monetary policy, economic growth, and the central bank’s use of Reggae to communicate with the public.
Caroline Hyde listed Jamaica’s latest economic achievements — including the upgrading of the country’s debt ratings by Fitch, reduction in the debt load, revitalization of the mining industry, the world’s best-performing stock market, and the squaring of finances.
“What an end to 2018; what a beginning to 2019! What’s the sweet spot right now, what’s your secret?” she asked.
“Jamaica has had a tremendous performance over the last several years with a restoration of macroeconomic stability,” Dr. Clarke asserted.
“We have had 16 consecutive quarters of economic growth, and we have been engaging in a series of structural reforms, fiscal, monetary, and a number of other reforms to restore the economy’s health — and the results have been getting attention around the world,” he added.
Noting that Fitch projects Jamaica’s growth at two per cent for the next couple of years, Caroline Hyde probed Finance Minister for the reason behind Prime Minister Andrew Holness’ target of four per cent.
“How is that to be achieved?” she asked. “Why is it not yet achieved?”
Clarke responded by giving some background information on Jamaica’s economic growth from the past to the present time.
“So Jamaica is emerging from a period of high debt and low growth over a long period of time. Our growth over 40 years was about 0.9 per cent. Over the last 10 years it was about 0.2 per cent. Over the last five years it was about 0.5 per cent,” he contended.
“We are now seeing growth at the level of two per cent and we’ve had 16 consecutive quarters of economic growth — the longest such stretch of quarterly growth since we started measuring growth quarterly in 1997,” Clarke posited further.