My fellow Jamaicans in the Diaspora,
As we celebrate our 57th year of independence, we have much to be thankful for:
- The lowest unemployment rate in our history at 7.8% and youth unemployment fell by 6 percent.
- The annual inflation rate is low and stable at 4.2% and the consumer price index is trending downwards.
- Our credit ratings are positive, and our foreign exchange reserves are historically high levels
- We have had record breaking tourist arrivals for the last two years exceeding 4.3 million visitors with an 8.6% increase in earnings for the industry.
- The deposit interest rate is at 3.2% which is a record low.
- Our Stock Market continues to perform well, and the consumer and business confidence indices remain high, these are always good indicators of economic health.
- The construction industry is seeing sustained growth, right across Jamaica and particularly in Kingston where we see new construction projects going up at a pace not seen in recent times. And the NHT is providing housing solutions for new homeowners like never in its history.
By the end of this month, over 12,500 new housing solutions would have been provided to the market since 2017 and we have lowered interest rates for you. If you are an NHT contributor earning below JA$15,000.00 per week you pay ZERO PERCENT on your mortgage. You can’t get lower than that! If you earn between $15,000.00 and $30,000 per week your mortgage rate is 1%. General mortgage rates are coming down steadily from double digit rates to now on average 7.5%. We have also introduced the intergenerational mortgage to assist older persons and families to acquire a home. What better way to celebrate your independence than by having a chance to own your home?
Many positive things are happening in Jamaica right now. There is much to celebrate on our 57th birthday. There is no question that at long last Jamaicans can feel proud that we are using our political independence to secure our economic independence.
However, I want you to know that I am under no illusion that all is well.
Notwithstanding the great performance of the government, there is no room for complacency; there is still much work to be done and pressing issues to be resolved.
I encourage the Diaspora to continue to support our beloved island. As a Government we are moving decisively to address several matters such as the environment, corruption and public safety, law and order and security.
I am confident that Jamaica will see greater achievements and improvements. At 57 we are still a young nation, the future is looking bright, we have achieved much, but there is still much more to be done. Hardships there are but the land is green and sun shineth upon us as “One Nation, One People” under God, increasing in beauty, fellowship and prosperity!
Happy Independence Day Jamaica!