The minister pointed out that this growth will be realized because of a number of measures put in place by the government. Minister Phillips who was a panelist at a CIBC panel discussion entitled, “Caribbean Economies, Has Recovery Arrived”, said that Jamaica was now experiencing a certain amount of growth in a number of areas, namely tourism, manufacturing and agriculture.
The Finance Minister said the country can expect to see further growth with the implementation of the logistics hub. This sector he said will form the center piece of Jamaica’s economy. He further stated that he did not anticipate that other sectors would disappear, but that the critical ingredient of this new economic juncture is the leveraging of our geographical location as a critical provider of services of all sorts, to facilitate economic transactions within the hemisphere as a whole.
Minister Phillips revealed that negotiations for a public private partnership of the Trans shipment port in Kingston and the privatization of the Norman Manley airport are now in their final phase. He said these projects will form part of a major logistics initiative which over time will see the expansion of services not only in shipping but in assembly and light manufacturing operations destined for all locations in the hemisphere and further afield.
He further revealed that extensive privatization program in the agricultural sector will see a revival of sugar cane and sugar production. “The mining sector is reviving as Bauxite Alumina and Aluminum prices rebound”. He added that the government was offering benefits not only related directly to the mining sector, but also to the provision of energy solutions both in the agriculture and sugar manufacturing sectors.
Additionally, the Bauxite Alumina sector will be leveraged into the national grid with the aim to lower overall electricity rates by about 30 percent over the next 3 or 4 years with the expectation that this will provide additional impetus to the manufacturing sector.
Minister Phillips told his audience that for the first time in 5 years, Jamaica accumulated net international reserves with the country experiencing its strongest reserve position with provisions in place for more than 16 weeks of our imports.
He said the country has now had five successive quarters of growth as confirmed by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (SIJ).
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