Government Senator, Abka Fitz-Henley, has hailed the management of Jamaica’s economy, noting that the Administration will continue to take concrete steps to further advance the country and improve the lives of citizens.
Making his maiden presentation in the Senate as he opened the 2023/24 State of the Nation Debate recently, Senator Fitz-Henley said the Jamaican economy has been so “well managed by this Administration, that we have presided over eight consecutive quarters of growth”.
He noted that the economy grew by 2.7 per cent in the January to March 2023 quarter compared to the corresponding period last year, adding that no new taxes have been levied on the Jamaican people for eight consecutive years.
“The message to our people, including the masses, is that this Administration will not sit on its laurels but will continue to work hard on your behalf, despite the state of the nation being such that the Administration has achieved the lowest unemployment rate that has ever been recorded in Jamaica’s history,” he said.
Senator Fitz-Henley pointed out that more people have secured jobs under the Administration of Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, than at any other time in Jamaica’s history.
He further noted that the Net International Reserves (NIR), “our US savings account”, totals US$415 billion.
Senator Fitz-Henley described the out-turn, which represents a 38 per cent increase on the figure prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, as “unprecedented”.
“We will continue to work hard on your behalf and explore policies to make your life better, even as we build on having achieved record expansion on a quarterly basis in the Jamaican economy,” he said.
“This side will continue to earnestly work hard for the betterment of the Jamaican people, despite us being firmly on track to achieving the lowest debt in over 20 years,” he further stated.
Senator Fitz-Henley added that stabilisation of the dollar in recent times has ensured that the purchasing power of Jamaicans is not significantly diminished.
Meanwhile, he urged the private sector to pass on favourable adjustments to the Jamaican people.
“I say to some of our partners in the private sector, I beg you, even as this side is creating an environment that’s conducive to doing business, pass on some of the favourable adjustments to the Jamaican people. I think that’s only a fair and a right call,” he emphasised.
Senator Fitz-Henley said he is encouraged that the Administration has been moving to place additional focus on developing an export-led economic expansion strategy.
“[This is] one where we identify areas and industries where we have a competitive advantage, a plan which recognises that our people are our greatest assets and that a motivated, skilled and educated labour force working in tandem with the digital innovations of the day are key to getting the engine of the economy moving at a faster pace,” he stated.