Tue | Aug 21, 2018

Union leader believes Jamaica can achieve more rapid economic growth

Published:Friday | December 30, 2016 | 12:00 AM

While the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) has forecast growth for the Jamaican economy at the end of the current fiscal year in March, one union leader is of the view that if more small and medium-sized businesses stepped up to the plate and targeted the export market, the country's economy would experience more rapid and sustainable growth.

O'Neil Grant, president of the Jamaica Civil Service Association (JCSA), acknowledged Wednesday that in the absence of external or internal shocks, the Jamaican economy is expected to see economic growth at the end of the current financial year.

The PIOJ had projected real GDP growth for this fiscal year of between one and two per cent. However, the JCSA president said some of the jobs being created were not high-value employment, which has implications for how fast the country's economy will grow.

Grant told The Gleaner that the majority of jobs being created were in the business processing outsourcing sector, with some employment being created at the lower end of the hotel industry. He said that jobs at the lower end of the pay scale are not expected to have a significant impact on economic growth in the short run but noted that it would drive up consumer spending "in some small way", which would result in marginal growth.




He contends that the kind of economic growth that the country needs would come if and when the manufacturing and export sectors are able to trade across Jamaican borders.

"While I see some people lining up themselves, particularly the very large players, we need to see more of the medium to small players coming through and adding to the cohort of exporters. That is how an economy will grow, and grow rapidly, when we are injecting new funds into the economy and not necessarily recycling what is already here," he asserted.

At the same time, Kavan Gayle, president general of the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union, told The Gleaner that he was anticipating economic growth in 2017 based on the targets set by the Government.

Gayle, who is also a member of the Economic Growth Council, said he was hoping that the country attracts new and different types of investment that can create sustainable employment within the economy.