Jamaica’s economic recovery could take four years — Clarke

It could take up to four years for the Jamaican economy to rebound to its pre-coronavirus levels.

Minister of Finance and the Public Service Dr Nigel Clarke (Photo: JIS)

Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke made the revelation while speaking at the recent Mayberry Investors forum.

Clarke admitted that while the central bank predicts the economy will grow by three per cent in fiscal year 2021/22, it could take up to four years for the economy to recover.

However, Clarke was adamant that growth projections of between three and eight per cent put forward by the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) in addition to others entities such as the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), the International Development Bank (IDB), the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) were realistic. 

An aerial view of New Kingston, Jamaica. (Photo: wikicommons)

“So the good news is that all of those agencies who have made forecasts, the direction from here is upward. And by from here, I mean, the first quarter, beginning April 2021, to June 2021. I’m not talking about the calendar, January 2021, to March 2021, we expect that to also decline,” he said.

Clarke said the positive direction was a good indicator, adding it’s possible that the economy could even surpass the three per cent growth target, depending on the rollout of the vaccine. 

“Some of the ranges that have been quoted by the BOJ are very wide, from three all the way to eight per cent. And so we could get a positive surprise that it’s actually higher than the three. Let’s wait and see,” said Clarke 

He also shared there were no major policy shifts in the pipeline, but noted that in year three of recovery, Jamaica would need to implement some macroeconomic reforms.

“In the Jamaica specific case. It is not in year one of recovery or year  two of  recovery but in year three of recovery, when we’re going to need the macroeconomic reforms to chip because we can no longer sort of depend on kind of the bounce back that preserving stability has allowed us to achieve.”

Denieca Daniels