Jamaican government confident in economic performance, promises further growth
KINGSTON, Sept. 21 (Xinhua/Sun) -- Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller said Sunday that the Jamaican government has met all its economic targets and promised further economic growth before fresh elections are called.
Speaking at the 76th annual conference of the ruling People's National Party, Simpson Miller said Jamaica's macroeconomic performance has improved significantly over the past year.
She said all the indicators of growth have shown that the current administration, which took office in December 2011, was on the right track, vowing that the administration will continue its growth policy.
An increasing foreign direct investment, a successful program with the International Monetary Fund and the improvement of productivity in agriculture are among the achievements, she said.
Jamaica entered a Stand-by Agreement with the IMF in May 2013 and has passed the institute's all five tests, said Simpson Miller.
Over the past year, the country has maintained four consecutive quarters of growth after 14 successive quarters of negative performance.
The prime minister stressed the government's efforts in improving the people's living standard, rejecting criticism that "the government had become pre-occupied with passing the IMF test while failing the people's test."
"We have passed the people's test by reducing General Consumption Tax from 17.5 percent to 16.5 percent, increasing minimum wage twice, and increasing national insurance scheme fund," she said.
Jamaica's unemployment rate has declined from over 16 percent to 13.6 percent over the past year, she said.
Jamaica's government elections are constitutionally due next year while general elections, which are held every five years, are expected by December 2016.