Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) Director General, Dr. Wayne Henry, says macroeconomic stability has been entrenched, evidenced by relatively low inflation, high net international reserves (NIR), successive positive growth, and fiscal discipline, which has significantly lowered public debt.
The country’s debt-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratio is projected to fall below 100 per cent at the end of the 2018/19 fiscal year, which is the lowest level of debt in nearly two decades.
Mr. Henry noted that with the strengthened foundation resulting from the improving macroeconomic out-turns, coupled with ongoing efforts to sustain the gains attained, the country is now moving to achieve economic independence.
Dr. Henry was speaking at the PIOJ’s inaugural Economic Growth Forum at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in St. Andrew recently, under the theme ‘From Elusive to Inclusive Growth’.
The occasion was also used to launch the PIOJ’s 2019 Growth Inducement Programme Research Report, which is a collection of eight research papers encompassing economic growth-related areas.
These include financial inclusion, tertiary education, labour market developments, and social interventions.
The recurring theme emerging from these studies is the importance of the Government creating a strong enabling environment for doing business, the PIOJ Head said.
He noted that the aim is to set the stage for individuals and businesses in the private sector, including social enterprises, to create wealth for themselves and their communities, which will redound to broader economic growth and development and, in turn, complete the circle of development with improved conditions.
As a country, we have earnestly undertaken many growth initiatives and made progress on many areas… but have not seen the levels of economic growth that we desire, he noted.
He said against this background, stakeholders should draw on the lessons learnt through open and honest reflection, sharing and action to devise coordinated approaches to effectively create or strengthen solutions to address Jamaica’s growth challenge.
We believe this is critical to attaining higher economic growth, higher social outcomes, and to achieve the targets established in Vision 2030 Jamaica – the National Development Plan and, thereby, make a real difference in the lives of the people, he added.
While acknowledging that there is no panacea or quick fix for elusive growth, Dr. Henry maintained that working together, utilising our scarce resources effectively and efficiently can generate the desired results, as we continue to target meaningful, sustainable and inclusive economic growth.