Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, says the Government continues to take all the necessary steps to ensure that the country is set firmly on a path of sustained economic growth.
Dr. Phillips was opening the debate on the First Supplementary Estimates for fiscal Year 2014/15, now before the House of Representatives, on December 9.
The estimates reflect an overall revised expenditure of $539.3 billion, representing a net reduction of $739 million against the original approved estimates of $540 billion.
Dr. Phillips said the country continues to see positive signs under the economic reform programme being implemented by the Government.
“Jamaica has successfully completed five International Monetary Fund (IMF) reviews and we are confident that the sixth review will also be completed successfully when the IMF Board meets later this month,” he noted.
The Minister also informed that the country’s Net International Reserves (NIR) are now at US$2 billion, while inflation is under control.
“Our competitiveness has improved, so too has our ranking for the Doing Business Environment, both having been assessed by internationally recognized institutions; and the international capital markets, the rating agencies and the diaspora have noticed and acknowledged our progress,” Dr. Phillips said.
He reported that the unemployment rate is down from 16 per cent to 13 per cent, while adding that there have been improvements in the country’s balance of payments.
“Going forward we intend to build on the growth momentum already underway. The decline in oil prices is likely to further support the economy with not only lower transportation and energy costs, but also improvements in both the balance of payments and lower inflation, both of which are advantages,” Dr. Phillips said.
By Latonya Linton