‘No effort!’ Peter Phillips bemoans flat economic growth

Opposition Leader, and former Finance Minister, Dr. Peter Phillips, is disappointed in the estimated one percent first-quarter fiscal-year growth for April to June 2019.

Dr. Phillips, who had been internationally credited with turning around the fortunes of the country between 2012 and 2016, calls the growth flat.

“I think we would all be disappointed generally by the fact the growth for the most recent quarter as reported by the PIOJ seems to be flat and I think that reflects the absence of clear policy direction to reform the main sectors of our economy and improve productivity in agriculture, for example, which is facing a huge slump, not related to drought conditions,” Dr. Phillips pointed out.

He said that major agriculture and agro-processing sectors such as the sugar cane, cocoa, and coffee industries are all facing crippling problems with governmental policy response in these areas.

“There is literally no effort to define a new economy except for the low wage options that are driving the country now; employment is up so also is poverty and we are seeing that there is an absence of serious thoughts and ideas on the part of the government to get economic growth dynamic moving in the country,” Dr. Phillips said.

The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) is reporting an estimated one percent first-quarter fiscal-year growth for April to June 2019.

(Photo: City of Johannesburg)

According to Director-General Dr. Wayne Henry the out-turn, buoyed primarily by a 1.4 percent expansion of the services industry, extends Jamaica’s growth trend to 18 consecutive quarters or four and a half years, despite the overall flat performance in the goods-producing industry.

He was speaking at the PIOJ’s quarterly briefing at the institute’s head offices in New Kingston recently.