“We have seen the commitment so far demonstrated by the Government in executing the economic programme agreed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). I would like to…. recognise Minister, Dr. Peter Phillips, for his very strong leadership in this regard, and to commend him for the successes we have seen in this very difficult and challenging environment,” she stated.
Ms. Sharp, who was addressing the opening of the bank’s Fairview Financial Centre in Montego Bay on Wednesday (January 7), also cited the significant efforts made by Government to improve Jamaica’s business climate.
These efforts, she said, have raised the country’s investment profile on the international landscape and have resulted in Jamaica being ranked as the best place to do business in the Caribbean. “Right now Jamaica is poised for growth,” she declared.
In her outlook for 2015, Ms. Sharp listed the slowing in the depreciation of the local currency; continued stability in interest rates and possibly even slight reductions throughout the year; single digit inflation; and continued growth in some key sectors such as tourism and agriculture.
“There are many possibilities available to Jamaica at this time and many possibilities available in Montego Bay,” she said, while pledging her bank’s willingness to partner with the local investors.
Scotia Bank Senior Vice President for English Caribbean International Banking, Bruce Bowen, noted that Jamaica is among the three most watched economies in the English-speaking Caribbean.
“As you speak to people across the Caribbean, Jamaica (is being) talked about… as an example of when tough decisions are made, when a society as a whole… comes together, what is possible,” he said.
Citing positive developments in Montego Bay, in particular, Mr. Bowen said: “if you go across the Caribbean, there are probably only two other places that … appear to be economically booming like Montego Bay. Cayman is one of them and you get a little bit like that in St Maarten as well. That shows the vibrancy of the economy, the vibrancy of the people and the entrepreneurs in this area.”
Both executives agreed that it was Scotia Bank’s experience in Jamaica that had shaped the bank’s regional and global outlook resulting in its presence in over 50 countries and ranked, by Market Capitalisation, among the 20 largest global banks.
Minister Phillips, who was the keynote speaker at the ceremony, commended the bank for its significant investment in western Jamaica, describing its new facilities as an example of its commitment to growth.
Dr. Phillips also hailed Scotia Group on its focus on the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) sector, and challenged the group to join Government’s effort in mobilizing the sector to facilitate growth and job creation.
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