Mr. Bullock was addressing the Inaugural Western Jamaica Economic Forum on November 26 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Rose Hall, St. James, where he highlighted a number of positives in the economy.
He said there are signs of recovery from the July to September quarter, where there was a contraction in gross domestic product (GDP) due to the impact of drought. He noted that already, agricultural supplies are “coming back to market and prices are going down again”.
Mr. Bullock also cited Jamaica’s improved ranking in both the global competitiveness and doing business indices, and the fact that the country has successfully navigated six quarterly International Monetary Fund (IMF) reviews and is meeting the primary surplus targets.
“Also the NIR (Net International Reserves) have been rebuilt from under US$900 million to over US$2 billion and unemployment has been falling (steadily),” he noted.
These developments, Mr. Bullock said, are creating a sound macro-economic environment for growth and development.
He noted, however, the need for effective social transformation across communities to ensure sustained economic growth and for the full realization of Vision 2030.
He said that Vision 2030 aims to among other things, ensure security and cohesiveness of society; that Jamaicans are empowered to achieve their fullest potential; that the economy is prosperous; and that Jamaica has a natural, healthy environment.
“This is a total framework for sustainable development and is not just about the economy as there is a symbiosis between all these elements that support each other. The message from the PIOJ is that economic growth cannot be sustained without effective social transformation,” he stated.