By Chevon Campbell
Growth in the local economy remains relatively flat.
But the forecast is for the momentum to improve to between one and two percent for the July to September quarter driven primarily by the recent re-opening of the Alpart bauxite alumina plant in St. Elizabeth.
Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica, PIOJ, Dr. Wayne Henry, told a media briefing today that the projected growth for the just concluded April to June quarter is 0.3-percent.
This is a marginal increase on the zero point 1 percent growth recorded for the first quarter.
PIOJ Director General, Dr. Wayne Henry, says growth of 0.3-percent for the April to June quarter was a result of gains in the tourism sector.
This was offset by down turns in the mining and agricultural sectors due to bad weather.
Dr. Henry says the agriculture sector declined by almost 9-percent and mining by over 10 percent.
However, he says there should be a turnaround in the mining sector largely due to the re-opening of the Alpart plant in June.
This is expected to help drive growth for the July to September quarter which is forecast at between one to two percent.
Despite concerns, Dr. Henry says he’s confident Jamaica’s economy will grow by two to three percent for the Financial year 2017/2018. But, there’s a caveat.
Dr. Henry is warning that adverse weather conditions and oil price shocks could affect growth.
And the PIOJ Director General says if certain key projects come on stream as scheduled Jamaica’s growth figures could go higher.
This includes the construction of a 2-million tonne Bauxite Alumina smelter at Alpart in St. Elizabeth.
He says the government is also moving to address issues such as labour market reforms.