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Prime Minister Andrew Holness has stated that the local economy has been relishing continuous growth for practically 18 successive quarters. He further disclosed that Jamaica is observing a rebound to a continual cycle of momentous economic growth not observed in the previous years. The fiscal year of 2018 observed growth in the economy by 1.9 percent. The Prime Minister asserted that the economy must persist to uphold this level of growth and attain two per cent growth for the year. If this were achieved, then Jamaica would be on a path to its true growth potential, which is about five percent.
“It displays a positive degree of feasibility in what we are doing, despite some fallbacks; still we can rebound and continue growing. It is still a positive indication that something good is happening inside the economy to keep accomplishing quarter after quarter growth,” Holness spoke.
Boost in Employment Generation
PM Holness observed that one of the advantages that came about because of these ongoing cycles of continuous development is employment. He pronounced that statistics would demonstrate unemployment to be down to eight percent, declaring that it was a result of prudent policies formulated by the Government.
He further stated that the HOPE Programme is one of the prime areas on which the Government has concentrated to contribute towards increasing employment. Housing, Opportunity, Production, and Employment (HOPE) programme comes under the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation. The programme blends academic and employment opportunities for citizens aged 18 to 24, who are not employed or registered in any school or training activities.
“The programme has over 10,000 juveniles who have successfully graduated from the programme, and a new batch is coming in. I am certain that the agency heads participating in the programme can affirm to the transformation that the programme has had.”
The Prime Minister continued that the programme has opened the minds of the participants, thereby constructing a labour force that is work-ready.
“The thoughtful programmes put in place by us have contributed much to boost employment in terms of short-term apprenticeship type of programmes. Moreover, making sure that the workers have been given adequate training so that they are on par with the others. With the necessary training experience at their disposal, they can easily gain the benefits of the employment available in the country”, he stated.
The Strategic Leadership Retreat is a four-day event focused on coordinating the work of the ministry with portfolio agencies. This will enable them to create a higher level of collaboration to deliver a higher quality of work and service, thereby building greater relationships with stakeholders.