Jamaica Is In The Middle Of “An Impressive Economic Recovery” Says PM Holness

“The pandemic was the worst health crisis in 100 years and has been by far the worst crisis faced by any administration in this country,” Holness began in his explanation of how Jamaica has improved while being cornered by the deadly disease that has been a global plague.

According to the reports that Holness read from, the country has been performing exceptionally well and Jamaica is currently in “the midst of an impressive economic recovery”. The prime minister explained that during the year 2020 the economy declined drastically to the lowest point in history and it has grown “14.2% in the first quarter of the current financial year in the highest quarter of the growth rate in Jamaica’s history”.

The reports further showed that the economy is expected to grow by 7%-9% for the 2021-2022 fiscal years. Also showing recovery is the tourism sector that has rebounded to near 70% of pre-pandemic levels.

Additionally, the construction activities such as commercial and residential real estate development are also improving after there was a decline in April-June 2020.

“The construction sector has recorded consecutive quarters of growth. For the last three quarters all sectors of the economy, with the exception of mining, have recorded significant growth,” Holness stated.

Records also show that after 2021 when unemployment was at the low point of 7.1%, there has since been a strong recovery. Similarly, the debt to GDP ratio which is projected to decline to 96% at the end of March 2022 had scaled up to 110% in March 2021. Out of 30 Latin-American countries and Caribbean countries in the region, Jamaica now ranks second in restoring the debt to GDP Ratio to all those pre-pandemic levels.

The net international reserve which was at $3.6 Billion on February 28, 2022, has increased by 500 million more than the pre-pandemic levels in February 2020. Meanwhile, in the quarter that ended in December 2021 business confidence increased at a peak since the pandemic hit and consumer confidence increased by 24%.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness firmly emphasized that “Jamaica was recovering”.

Subsequently, he spoke on the fact that no new taxes would be introduced.

“The Administration has presented seven budgets with no Net new taxes and five budgets without any new taxes at all,” Holness added.

He emphasized that five budgets have never been presented without having a single tax increase. His statement also informed that minimum business tax and income tax for persons earning below $1.5 million has been removed. Additionally, GCT and transfer taxes were reduced.

Holness emphasized that even though Jamaica was in the middle of the pandemic, “the worst global crisis in a hundred years”, and the economy was drastically affected, which is now being pressured by high oil prices due to the Russian-Ukraine crisis, the government could reassure the people that there would be no new taxes.

The Prime Minister also added that the last PNP administration increased taxes every year, which resulted in over $58 Billion in new taxes being put in place “on the people over a period of relative global stability and growth”.

Subsequently, he mentioned that reducing taxes has always been a goal for the government, and he is positive that as the country recovers from the pandemic, there would be more opportunities to further reduce taxes and opportunities for givebacks. Additionally, the government will select vulnerable households and sectors to assist and provide help with targeted care packages and programs.

Watch his speech on the topics below.

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