Wednesday, November 12, 2014

By Oroyo Eubanks November 10, 2014

Preliminary data from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) shows that Jamaica achieved economic growth for a fifth consecutive quarter, recording 1.8 per cent for the period ending June 30, 2014.

Finance and Planning Minister, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, says STATIN has confirmed that the outturn for the June quarter “is, in fact, stronger than had been originally estimated by both the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) and Bank of Jamaica (BOJ).”

“So…the outturn for the quarter…was 1.8 percent annualized for that (period)” the Finance Minister added, while addressing the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Jamaica’s (ICAJ) business conference, on the theme: ‘Going for Growth’, at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston, on Saturday, November 8.

In relation to the July to September quarter, Dr. Phillips said the outturn is expected to be impacted by the resulting severe drought conditions which affected the island, especially the agriculture sector.

He said consequent on this, and the fact that the sector continues to be one of Jamaica’s main drivers of economic growth, there is the need to undertake significant improvements that will result in, among other things, reduced dependence on imports.

“Agriculture still constitutes the main employer of labour in the country; and if you’re going to overcome poverty, as a country, as a whole, it is going to require raising the levels of productivity and incomes in the sector,” Dr. Phillips asserted.

To this end, he pointed to signs that production will increase in various commodities, while noting that transformation is currently taking place in some factories and businesses that now export various agricultural produce.

“For instance, the sugar producers are looking at (developing) co-generation facilities, selling electricity to the grid, and looking at creating other products out of the cane than just sugar,” he informed.

Dr. Phillips also pointed to the tourism sector and the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry as areas of the economy where growth is occurring.

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