Five in four fallout
The five in four growth target trumpeted by the Andrew Holness administration has been shattered for the current financial year with preliminary new projections forecasted at less than one per cent, but the severe effects of the weather since last year are being blamed for the fallout.
"My view is that this year should have been the year when we inch past the two per cent (growth). As it turned out, it is not the year," said the prime minister adding that "the outlook, year to year, as projected by the PIOJ (Planning Institute of Jamaica), is that we would probably be just under one per cent".
He noted that the out-turn might be better as the last quarter figures have not yet been reviewed and STATIN (Statistical Institute of Jamaica) would put out the final figures.
"If we don't meet the five in four, it would give cause for concern. Not just cause for concern for the aspiration that we have put to the people, but the people themselves should be concerned. This is not a political 'I got you'; failure to meet the growth target is everyone's loss," Holness told journalists Wednesday at his quarterly press conference at Jamaica House.
He said that exogenous shocks such as the effects from severe weather systems have significantly impacted the agricultural sector.
The prime minister said this would not dampen the Government's efforts at setting targets "which we know we may not reach, but they are targets that stretch us. So those who are lining up to say, 'see it, you are not going to reach it', I find that to be churlish".