Finance Minister Dr. Nigel Clarke – Today’s Economy The Strongest In Living Memory

Minister of Finance and the Public Service Dr. Nigel Clarke has declared that all economic indicators suggest that the Jamaican economy continues to make robust gains – the most positive in living memory.

Minister Clarke made the comment as he delivered the main address at the third staging of the Caribbean Finance & Investment Forum on Thursday, November 1, at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston.

“There is a lot of interest in what is happening in Jamaica and a lot of interest in opportunities that are available. Even as we reduce debt, capital expenditure by the government has increased by more than 100% in the last two years,” Clarke contended.

“We have inflation at record lows and has been stable for the past several years, increasingly becoming predictable. Interest rates are at record lows, poverty is declining, foreign direct investment has been steady and capital imports have increased five-fold over the past six years – from $200 million in 2012 to approximately $1billion in 2018,” he added.

According to Minister Clarke, it augurs well for the economic outlook of the island in the context of doubling spend while declining debt, the introduction of no new taxes and having one of the highest primary surpluses in the world.

“We are in positively different times. There is no better place to invest, within the Latin American and Caribbean spaces, than Jamaica at this point in time,” Clarke noted, adding that for the first time since 2000, Jamaica’s debt to GDP ratio is set to fall under 100%.

The minister further remarked that legislation is to be tabled shortly for the establishment of a fiscal council to pursue a particular fiscal target.

“Our debt reduction strategy has been anchored around a primary surplus target of 60% debt to GDP by financial year 2025-2026. We intend to enhance our fiscal responsibility framework by putting into legislation a fiscal council that has to report to the public, Jamaica’s fidelity to that objective,” said Clarke.

The 3rd Latin Finance Caribbean Finance & Investment Forum brought together some of the biggest players in the local and regional financial/business landscape to discuss, among other topics, the new direction of the Caribbean economic outlook.

With delegates from Barbados, Guyana, Trinidad and other interests from Central America, the forum saw several major players in the local and regional financial/business landscape including Jefferies; National Commercial Bank (NCB) Capital Markets; Fitch Ratings; Citi Bank; the JMMB Group; Petro Caribe Development Fund; Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE); Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC); American Chamber of Commerce, Jamaica Chapter (AmCham); and the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ).

By: Gavin Riley 

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