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EGC maintains confidence in 5-in-4

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EGC maintains confidence in 5-in-4

BY BALFORD HENRY
Senior staff reporter
balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, January 24, 2019

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Chairman of the Government’s Economic Growth Council (EGC) Senator Aubyn Hill yesterday insisted that the council’s confidence in their projected 5-in-4 (five per cent in four years) growth figures still stands.

According to Senator Hill, who was chairing yesterday’s press briefing on the EGC’s seventh report on its activities, at Jamaica House, the “playing field” has been set for the achievement of the target.

He pointed to yesterday’s Business Observer article “Business and Consumer Confidence at new high”, which noted that “firms say time is ripe for expansion, as further confirmation that the field is already set to encourage more investments in the local economy.

“The field is set. We believe that the ground is so well set it is again confirmed today in the report showing that the confidence is so high. It is really amazing when those investors said ‘we are ready to invest’ and consumers are confident that more jobs will be created,” he said.

He also noted that, apart from the major physical infrastructure projects being completed this year, there is confidence in the economy which will provide the basis for increased growth over the next couple of years.

Earlier, chairman of the council, Michael Lee Chin, noted that a number of challenges to growth were identified by the EGC after it was appointed in 2016, and during its first 75 meetings. These were included in a Call to Action report which listed 111 solutions to the lack of growth.

These issues included: crime; a lack of planning and accountability; a lack of focus on goals; political tribalism; difficulties in doing business; poor capital allocation; high cost of capital; high banking taxes including the 33 per cent corporate tax and asset taxes; lack of investor confidence; unemployment; corruption; and sabotage.

He said that the country has come a long way since then, but it needs to step up the pace in terms of dealing with the issues affecting growth.

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