By Chris Patterson
KINGSTON, Jamaica, (JIS) – Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, says focus will be placed on increasing productivity this year to boost economic growth.
“All Jamaicans must produce more in 2024. We will seek to gain greater efficiencies in service delivery and output through greater integration of technology and business process engineering in the public service. Performance management must become the mantra of all Jamaica, as this is how we will sustain our economic growth,” Holness said in his New Year’s message.
He urged Jamaicans not to undervalue the importance of a strongly performing economy, noting that this is key to ensuring that “we can fix our roads, hospitals, water supply, or pay our public-sector workers close to market wages as we have done under the compensation review.”
Holness said the government is committed to ensuring that the benefits of a growing economy will reach the people in a fair and just way.
“We believe in prosperity for all. That is why we doubled the minimum wage; that is why we engage young people in programmes to develop work readiness like the LIFT programme. That is why we introduced the social pension for elderly persons not covered in the social safety net.
“That is why we introduced programmes to assist persons who have lost limbs due to lifestyle diseases; that is why we have developed the social housing programme to provide housing to the poorest in our society, along with many other programmes specifically targeted to those who cannot participate in the economy through employment and income. No one will be left behind,” he said.
Additionally, prime minister Holness said the government, in 2024, will further expand economic activity and make the necessary investments in human capital and security to support economic expansion.
“This will give us the ability to do more for you in 2024,” prime minister Holness said. The country has been able to undertake transformational projects and recover strongly from the pandemic because the administration has been good stewards of the economy.
“Our economy has recorded ten consecutive quarters of positive economic growth since the pandemic, with low unemployment rate of 4.5 percent, net international reserves at US$4.5 billion as of November 2023, a remarkable 55 per cent increase in export earnings for the first quarter of 2023, and a projected debt-to-GDP ratio of approximately 74 percent by the end of this fiscal year,” Holness said.