Prime Minister Bruce Golding has called on the private sector and particularly the financial and investment companies to come together to create deals and programmes that will generate the kind of synergies for a joined up and aggressive approach to help make downtown Kingston the new and exciting investment frontier.
Mr Golding was speaking this morning (Sept. 22) at a Urban Development Corporation and Scotia Investments forum at the Jamaica Conference Centre under the theme ‘Redevelopment of downtown Kingston: Investment Opportunities and Challenges”
He has called on the financial institutions and investors to look at long term opportunities, noting that conditions in the Jamaican economy were improving though still influenced by what was happening in the world economy in general.
Mr Golding said that for the first time in the history of Jamaica the latest publication by Statin showed that total inflation for the first 8-months of this year was at its lowest ever of less than 4-percent.
“I would like to challenge anybody to tell me when in the history of Jamaica … certainly not in the last 45 years have you ever seen an 8-month period when the inflation rate was less than 4%?”.
But Mr Golding noted that there is the need to see macro-economic harmony where Jamaica gets to a stage with low interest rates and stable exchange rates. He noted that government was under pressure to grant waivers as it is felt that failure to do so could lead to the collapse of businesses.
But he said his position is very clear; “We have walked too far a road and come too far, and are too close to the point at which we can get the benefit of this effort to allow our efforts to be lost because there are demonstrations out there that we need to spend more money. We have the projects that have been facilitated and developed by the UDC and the private sector, and conditions are getting ripe….. Even though people are worried about what is happening in North America and what has been coming out of the IMF … we must be bold”, Mr Golding told the room full of some of the most influential business and private sector leaders.
He expressed confidence in the financial institutions but said they need to recognize that hard risk analyses and testing have to be done and they should look long term, not at just what is happening in the US economy. Mr Golding said there are funds that need to find a long term home since government paper will no longer yield the returns of the past.
The Prime Minister expressed the hope that the discussions at this morning’s corporate forum will help to guide decisions on investing in the redevelopment of downtown Kingston, knowing that government has and will play a critical role in providing the required support.