HOLNESS: Strong confidence in economy
KINGSTON – Prime Minister Andrew Holness says there is strong confidence in the economy from the business community and the rest of the country.
He noted this “unyielding strength of confidence” has been reflected in the latest Business and Consumer Confidence Indices, which show “business confidence remains firmly entrenched above the crucial 100-point mark”.
The Prime Minister was speaking at the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union’s Triennial General Assembly, at Wolmer’s High School for Boys in Kingston last Saturday.
Holness informed further confidence in the economy has been reflected in the number of loans made to the private sector and other individuals from financial institutions.
“Overall, the loans to the private sector have increased by over 30 per cent at February 2017 versus February 2016. People are borrowing to invest and the banks are lending for investments again. There is a shift happening from consumer to investment lending,” he said.
The Prime Minister added loans to the manufacturing sector increased by 22 per cent, loans to the construction and land development sector increased by 15 per cent and loans to the tourism sector accelerated by 31 per cent.
“This is good. This shows that the engine of our economy is starting to turn. Business people are willing to take risks again and banks are willing to lend again…this is a sign that the economy is cranking up again,” noted Holness.
He also informed that approximately 22 000 more persons were employed at the end of January 2017 when compared to the end of January 2016. This has resulted in an increase in the employment rate from 12.7 per cent to 13.3 per cent.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister indicated more skilled Jamaicans were needed for certain areas where Chinese investments were present within the country and required these labourers to be trained, certified and disciplined.
Holness said through dialogue with the Chinese, a training component must be added to future development plans, which will see the HEART Trust/NTA certifying local workers whether in “technology or new practices”. (JIS)