Medium Term Social Economic Framework (MTF) in its Final Preparation Stage

Date: August 16, 2018

The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) held their Media Briefing today, discussing the economic performance of Jamaica for period April-June 2018 period.

Dr. Wayne Henry, Director General of PIOJ, highlighted the macroeconomic performance for the April-June 2018 period. He stated that, “Real growth GDP grew by 1.8 percent for April-June 2018 relative to April-June 2017.” This has been the highest growth over the last seven (7) quarters since the July-September 2016 quarter. Growth in Real GDP was as a result of an estimated increase in the Goods Producing Industry (5.7 percent) and the Services Industry (0.5 percent).

Production Performance by industry are as follows:

  • Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing Industry, up by 10 percent.
  • The Manufacture Industry, down by 0.4 percent.
  • Mining & Quarrying Industry, expanded by 30 percent.
  • Electricity & Water Supply Industry, increased by 0.7 percent.
  • Transport Storage & Communication Industry, growth of 1.5 percent.
  • Wholesale & Retail Trade, Repair and Installation of Machinery, grew by 0.5 percent.
  • Finance & Insurance Services, up by 1 percent.
  • Hotels and Restaurants Industry, down by 1.5 percent.

The Director General mentioned that, “The increase in the Goods Producing Industry resulted from favourable weather conditions.” Traditional Export Crops grew by 12.7 percent, reflecting higher production for Sugarcane (44.2 percent) and Banana (0.6 percent). This outweighed the decline in cocoa and coffee production. Cocoa production was affected by the outbreak of the cocoa disease while coffee production was affected by the coffee leaf rust disease.

Notably, the resumption of Jamaica’s largest mining refinery positively impacted the pace of growth. Also, higher levels of constructions associated with roads rehabilitation, increased renovation of commercial buildings and increased residential construction activities were contributing factors behind the indicated growth. “However, further growth was stifled by plant downtime in the manufacturing industry, decline in the average length of stay by Foreign Nationals with adversely affected the hotels and restaurants industry,” as mentioned by the Director General.

“The construction industry increased by 1.2 percent indicating growth in the Other Construction and Building Construction components.” The other construction component has grown due to higher capital expenditure by the National Works Agency as there was a 65.4 percent expansion to $4.9 billion deriving from road expansion and rehabilitation. The Jamaica Public service demonstrated significant increase to $10.4 billion and the National Water Commission that recorded growth to $882.4 million.

Economic growth could have indicated further increase, if the input components used in the construction industry were produced locally. However, the country will still benefit from the assets’ real value whether this is by expanded hotel rooms or widening of our roads. Thus, after the completion of the ongoing projects, more sustainable growth will be realized.

Dr. Henry highlighted that for Vision 2030, the Medium Term Social Economic Framework (MTF), is in its final stage of preparation. The framework is aligned to the National Development Plan aiming to achieve developmental gains in the previous MTFs. Also, continued focus will persist on:

  • Fundamental reforms
  • Macroeconomic gains
  • Strengthening the resilience of the country’s built and natural environment
  • Undertaking more holistic developments in the country’s most volatile and at-risk communities

The General Director concluded his presentation stating that, “The company is committed to making Jamaica the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business.”