Wed | Aug 15, 2018

UPDATED: Aubyn Hill appointed new EGC chief executive, targets 2.3 per cent growth next year

Published:Tuesday | December 12, 2017 | 7:23 PM
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (left) congratulates the new EGC CEO Aubyn Hill. At right is ECJ chairman Michael Lee Chin - Ricardo Makyn photo

Former investment banker Aubyn Hill has been appointed executive director of the Economic Growth Council (EGC).

He replaces Maureen Denton, who left the post in August.

The appointment was made public by Prime Minister Andrew Holness during a press conference at Jamaica House in St Andrew Tuesday afternoon. 

Hill say he will be looking to effect immediate economic expansion with three primary veins of focus to deliver 2.3 per cent growth by next year.

According to Hill, his attention will be on helping the Government achieve the idealistic target of five per cent economic growth in three years, in an environment that will allow for job creation and fiscal responsibility, while adding that at 2.3 per cent, the country would be well on its way.

"My recognition looking at the numbers, is knowing that wherever we are going, we need to stretch to get there, and I support that higher goal (five per cent growth in three years), and along the way we are going to pass through 2.3. And if we make the 2.3 per cent next year or even close to that, I think we will be doing very well on moving past the average of 0.8 per cent over the last 40 years,” said Hill.

He told The Gleaner he would be working to maintain commitments to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the various multilateral bodies under the EGC.

"As the former chief financial adviser to the Minister of Finance, I have seen the IMF projections; I have also seen the Planning Institute of Jamaica projections, I have seen the ministry’s projections and so what I say is, we need to go after stretch targets,” said Hill.

He said Jamaica cannot support the security services wage bill as is needed, neither can the government support the health service among other important things, as required, as the pool of funds is none-existent.  

"I will be giving details in due course on the three areas of focus in driving the growth we need, but it involves job creation and you can quickly guess; housing is important, water is important and things like energy and agriculture, which has to have a clear focus, while cutting down on the inefficiency and red tape in Government," Hill said. 

"Let’s not forget, we cannot build the roads; in fact we cannot even fix the potholes after rainy season unless we grow in the vicinity of four or five and plus percentage and so we cannot back off from it, we are going to get there as quickly as possible,” noted Hill.

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com  

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(EDITOR'S NOTE: A previous version of this story had incorrectly stated that Aubyn Hill had been appointed CEO of the Economic Growth Council)