Strict Rule of Fiscal Discipline Will Be Maintained – Finance Minister

Finance and Planning Minister, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, says the Government will continue to maintain the strict rule of fiscal discipline, which is necessary to keep the country’s debt on a downward path.

Addressing a special luncheon of the Jamaica-American Chamber of Commerce at the Three West Club in Manhattan, New York, this week, the Minister said that the measures put in place will not only impact the country’s capacity to grow, but ensure that another generation will never again have to endure the extreme sacrifices “we have had to endure in this current phase of economic reform.”

The Minister said there have been major investments in agro parks, tourism, information technology, business process outsourcing and sports infrastructure, adding that growth projections are relatively modest, but the objective is to extend the targets.  To this end, he said the Cabinet has established a sub-committee with appropriate technical support and a Secretariat charged specifically with the coordination and facilitation of major growth incentives.

Dr. Phillips pointed out that the priority of the Government is not only economic growth, but securing socially inclusive growth.  “The objective is not only to increase productivity, but to ensure expanded ownership and job creation by virtue of new business start-ups and support for medium and small enterprises, which normally provide for the bulk of employment and growth output,” he added.

The Minister  noted that over the past three years, the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) has injected more than $6.5 billion into the funding of  micro, small  and medium enterprises, and that this year, the Government will be implementing the venture capital proposal that will enable start-up businesses and other small businesses to have access to funding.  He anticipates that the venture capital fund will come on stream in early 2015.

The Minister, while on a three-day visit to New York, toured the New York Stock Exchange; met with most of the prominent members of the New York finance community; addressed a JAMPRO breakfast; delivered a lecture entitled, ‘Jamaica’s Path to Prosperity’ at the 10th Annual Caribbean International Network (CIN) Lecture Series and gave an interview on the Bloomberg Financial Network.

By Derrick Scott