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Shaw makes his contribution to Budget Debate today

Published:Tuesday | March 17, 2015 | 12:00 AMEdmond Campbell

WITH Jamaica locked in a cycle of marginal economic growth annually, financial analyst Errol Gregory said it was time the Government identified strategies that could lead to more meaningful growth.

While acknowledging the Government's efforts at inducing growth from tourism and business process outsourcing, Gregory indicated that he was yet to be convinced that growth was at the centre of government strategy.

"We know the importance of passing the IMF test, but we would have thought that concomitant with that by now would have been some strategy that might involve incentive for the productive sector," Gregory noted in a Gleaner interview.

'trickle-down ideology'

And as Opposition Spokesman on Finance Audley Shaw makes his presentation to the Budget Debate in Gordon House today, Gregory said he wanted to hear proposals that move away from what he describes as the "trickle-down ideology" of GDP growth.

The Jamaican economy is projected to grow for the current fiscal year at 0.3 per cent. This projected out-turn represents a downward revision from the initial estimate of about 1.6 per cent given the impact of drought conditions, plant downtime, and weak domestic demand.

Following Finance and Planning Minister, Dr Peter Phillips' opening contribution to the Budget Debate, the Jamaica Exporters' Association said it was concerned that the minister had no clear and definitive initiatives to support the growth of the country's export sector.

"The Jamaica Exporters' Association believes that it is impossible for the country to tax its way out of our problems, as sustained economic growth in the Jamaican context must be export driven."

In its Growth Agenda Policy Paper, the Government is projecting real GDP growth of 2.9 per cent for 2015-2016 and 3.1 per cent for financial year 2016-2017.

The administration indicated that key strategic investment projects in the areas of agriculture, energy, tourism, information and communication technology, business process outsourcing and doing business reforms are expected to yield upside potential to the baseline growth projections.

Current GDP baseline forecast for the upcoming fiscal year is 1.6 per cent, while the forecast for 2016-2017 is two per cent.