Jamaica's Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has highlighted the tremendous success of the government’s economic programme and the resultant improvement in the island’s economy over the past two years. Addressing Sunday’s public session of the People's National Party’s (PNP) 76th annual conference, the party president pointed to several major projects that are slated to come on stream, the passage of successive International Monetary Fund (IMF) tests and the latest ratings which showed that the economy has been growing. She noted that Jamaica has been able to attract some J$54 billion in investments, particularly in the tourism sector, over the last two years. Prime Minister Simpson Miller pointed out that the country's debt was declining and its perception improving among international credit ratings agencies, such as Standard & Poors, which has upgraded Jamaica's rating from stable to positive. Addressing jubilant supporters inside the National Arena in Kingston, The PNP President said her administration was positioning the island for more substantial economic growth, having achieved four consecutive quarters of growth after 14 successive quarters of negative performance. She said unemployment levels have declined from over 16 per cent to 13.6 per cent, and is expected to further improve further as additional investments are made in business processing and outsourcing (BPO) with the establishment of centres in various parish capitals across the country. This initiative is expected to create some 2,500 jobs by the end of the financial year and an additional 10,000 jobs upon completion. In addition, she pointed to the on-going work to diversify the energy sector to save Jamaicans some US$350 million in energy costs by 2018, and highlighted the development the country's highway infrastructure and attempts to position the country as a global logistics hub through the expansion of the Kingston Harbour, Norman Manley International Airport and development of the Portland Bight area. The Jamaican Prime Minister said expansion of the Kingston Wharves was also in the pipeline and revealed that the administration was receiving several investments in logistics amounting to billions of dollars, to come not only out of China but out of the United States and Europe. “The future is looking bright, we welcome the investments,” said Simpson Miller who thanked the local and international investors. Simpson Miller, while boasting of the outstanding gains to come, cautioned that economic independence would not come overnight and that the country needed the involvement of all Jamaicans, locally and overseas, to succeed. She said the country could not continue to do business as usual and new approaches were necessary to get the desired results. “So how dem say nothing naa gwaan?” Simpson Miller asked to loud cheers. “… when people say nothing naa gwaan you can proudly say, big things a gwaan and our country is moving on,” she told the thousands of cheering party supporters. She said the administration had passed the people’s test when “we reduced GCT from 17.5 per cent to 16.5 per cent”, reduced the tax burden on low-income earners, expanded the PATH and school-feeding programmes, hand out land titles and improve health benefits, among other things. Simpson Miller said that the PNP will again pass the people’s test when it comes away successful at next year’s holding of Local Government elections and the subsequent general elections.
Last modified onMonday, 22 September 2014 02:44
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