“According to the Planning Institute of Jamaica, in the final quarter of 2019 the Jamaican economy again weakened to grow at a paltry 0.1%, and the projection for the 2019/20 fiscal year has been further reduced to 0.6%,” Golding said.
“With growth having ground to a virtual halt in the second half of 2019 and the impact of the Coronavirus now looming, the Jamaican economy could well be headed into a period of economic contraction,” the PNP spokesman on finance lamented.
He pointed out that “Key sectors of the economy are already in negative territory, with the construction sector shrinking by 2% in the fourth quarter of 2019, and bauxite/alumina in a deep tailspin with the closure of Jisco/Alpart.“
The Shadow Minister further pointed out that: “Bauxite/alumina faces waning demand from the dislocation in China, tourism is vulnerable to vacationers’ reluctance to risk international travel, and manufacturing is exposed to serious disruption in the international supply chain and much higher prices for alternative sources.
We are already seeing a sharp reduction in logistics activity at the Port of Kingston, with port workers being told to take a pay cut or face layoffs. The situation is ominous,” Golding said.
"It cannot be business as usual. It is clear the economy has been slowing, and serious challenges lie ahead. The Government needs to level with the people and indicate what measures will be pursued to mitigate the adverse impact of this economic storm on ordinary Jamaicans.
“The Opposition stands ready to join in a national response to looming crisis, but the Government must lead and not bury its head in the sand as events unfold," Golding concluded.
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