Tuesday 16 October, 2018

Sterling Asset boss discusses economic growth with Nigel Clarke

Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke (left) recently engaged in a candid fireside chat about Jamaica's economic growth with Sterling Asset Management CEO Charles Ross (right).

Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke (left) recently engaged in a candid fireside chat about Jamaica's economic growth with Sterling Asset Management CEO Charles Ross (right).

Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke and CEO of Sterling Asset Management Charles Ross engaged in a candid fireside chat where Jamaica’s economic growth was the focal point at the recently held Sterling Asset Management Briefing.

Ross, who has been a strong proponent of export led development, believes that Jamaica’s economic policy, favours current consumption at the expense of production. Ross cites the example of the South East Asian Tigers as examples of the success of an export led growth strategy.

“These governments’ maintained policies that kept local costs low and made production for export very profitable. Consequently, savings and investments were channelled in production rather than consumption. The countries also invested heavily in developing a highly skilled labour force that was cheaper than labour in the rest of the world, thanks to their monetary and fiscal policies” Ross shared.

Despite its adherence to the IMF programme and the achievement of fiscal targets, Jamaica has still not experienced meaningful growth. Some economic pundits believe that the macroeconomic policy regime has remained largely unchanged and is not designed to drive growth.

Ross believes that with continued monetary policy reform, Jamaica could achieve real economic growth. Ross noted that the environment of low interest rates and the availability of Jamaican dollar liquidity are certainly positive for the productive sector.

Minister Clarke concurred and highlighted the fact that the Jamaican dollar interest rates are now lower than the US dollar interest rates and no one expected that rates would ever be this low in Jamaica.

Clarke also shared how under his leadership, the finance ministry will implement policies that will continue on this path of economic growth since there are significant investment opportunities in Jamaica that would attract many takers given the stability of the economy.

“As far as policies that will emanate from the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service. While I’m Minister the framework, I’ll pursue consists of policies that can help Jamaica in its pursuit of economic independence, policies to expand economic opportunities for all and policies that aim to improve the protection of the vulnerable.” said Clarke.

He continued: “I’d like to see greater emphasis on things like agricultural resilience as we pursue economic independence. I want to strengthen the macro-fiscal capacity of the Ministry of Finance and of our institutions and I want to ensure that we have methods of deepening our fiscal rules and responsibility framework with the emergence of a fiscal council.”