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Portia backs growth policies

KINGSTON — Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller yesterday reiterated government’s commitment to improving macroeconomics stability and economic growth, identifying the areas as most important to social protection.

“Our mission of uplifting the Jamaican people and working toward economic independence was challenged during the past year by the slippage of the Jamaican dollar,” said Simpson Miller, in a national broadcast, apparently in response to mounting criticism about the administration’s performance since it took over office in 2012.

“The Net International Reserves also dipped, but not our reserve of courage, determination and resilience in the face of the international economic environment and domestic challenges. Yet, our confidence in the Jamaican people has never been stronger,” said Miller, admitting that her administration’s record for the past year “has not been perfect”.

Improving lives

In that regard, said Miller, the administration will be moving expediently with the much-anticipated tax, public sector, and pension reforms. Improving the country’s macroeconomic stability is not just a requirement of the International Monetary Fund agreement, said Miller, it is also a means of improving the country’s underdevelopment, she said.

In the meantime, Miller announced several economic initiatives, including the development of the Gordon Cay Container Transhipment Hub, and a container terminal and logistics centre at Fort Augusta.

Come 2013, many Jamaicans will be able to find employment by way of the construction of a US $610-million North-South link of Highway 2000 being undertaken by the China Harbour Engineering Company, said Simpson Miller, who also promised an injection of some US $200 million in capital expenditure in tourism. There will also be a thrust in Russian and Latin American markets, she said.

In addition, the Development Bank of Jamaica has earmarked some US $20 million for on-lending to investors of finance and to support the construction of information and communication technology facilities. This has the potential to create some 10,000 new jobs, she said.

At the same time, according to the prime minister, the Jamaica Public Service Company is slated to spend over US $630 million in a power plant and renewable energy projects. (Observer)

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