Thu | Apr 19, 2018

UPDATED: Aubyn Hill appointed EGC chief executive - Targets 2.3 per cent growth by next year

Published:Wednesday | December 13, 2017 | 12:00 AMPaul Clarke
Prime Minister Andrew Holness speaks with Aubyn Hill, the new executive director of the Economic Growth Council (EGC), while EGC Chairman Michael Lee-Chin looks on after a press conference held yesterday at Jamaica House in St Andrew.

The Economic Growth Council (EGC) will be looking to effect immediate economic expansion with three primary veins of focus to deliver 2.3 per cent growth by next year, says the newly appointed executive director of the council Aubyn Hill.

Hill's appointment was made public by Prime Minister Andrew Holness during a press conference at Jamaica House in St Andrew yesterday. He replaces Maureen Denton, who left the post in August.

Hill said his attention will be on helping 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.

"So 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 on 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 the country cannot support the security services wage bill as is needed, neither can 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.

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com

(EDITORS' NOTE: An earlier version of this article had stated that Hill was appointed the new chief executive officer of the Economic Growth Council. His title is in fact executive director.)