Opening the 2019/20 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives on Thursday, Finance and the Public Service Minister, Dr. Nigel Clarke, said the figure represents “the lowest level of debt in nearly two decades, and the first time below 100 per cent over that period.”
“This is a national achievement of which all Jamaicans can be proud,” he noted.
He said that all segments of the society have contributed to this success, and recognised the role played by several groups including public sector unions and staff; the financial institutions and investing community; the private sector; the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC); the social partners; civil society; the media; Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and the Government and Opposition.
He said Jamaica is the world’s only example, in recent times, of a small country that has reduced its public debt by the equivalent of half its GDP in a short timeframe “without handouts, without debt relief or without bilateral debt support from friends or partners.”
“We found ourselves completely on our own and had no choice but to rescue ourselves with our own resources. The good news is that this experience demonstrates our capacity to achieve our greatest dreams and aspirations for our country, if we can summon the courage, the fortitude, the foresight, the humility and the wisdom to work together for the common good,” Dr. Clarke pointed out.
He said that the achievement ranks among the country’s greatest bipartisan successes.
He cited electoral reform leading to the emergence of the Electoral Office of Jamaica and dramatic improvements in the integrity of the electoral system, and constitutional reform that gave birth to the Charter of Rights, as other major accomplishments.
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