Kingston – Over the next two years, Jamaica is likely to attain debt levels lower than at any time in the last 50 years, says Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr Nigel Clarke.
“We have to keep on the trajectory to get there, but if we keep on it, we are likely to get to a point where debt levels are lower than any point in the last 50 years,” he said as he closed the 2023/24 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday.
The Minister noted that the 30-year odyssey of the Financial Sector Adjustment Company (FINSAC) which was established by the Jamaican government to address the financial sector crisis in the 1990s, and the longer arc of high debt over a 50-year period have taught the country a lesson that “it is easy to put debt on and very hard to take it off”, adding that a “single policy can add mountains of debt”.
“What that does is strangle the chances of generations, as servicing interest on top of interest over half a century has robbed generations of opportunities for a better life.
“High debt has made economic crises worse, economic shocks more severe and has reduced the fiscal space and flexibility needed to respond to economic shocks,” Dr. Clarke said.
The Finance Minister noted that this forced Jamaica into lengthy decades-long periods of economic recovery that have impeded the country’s social, economic and national development. (CMC)