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Jamaica’s Upgraded Credit Training Will Yield Favourable Financing Terms – Dr. Clarke

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#Kingston, September 19, 2023 – Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, says that upgrading of Jamaica’s credit rating by Standard and Poor’s will facilitate access to financing on better terms.

Standard and Poor’s (S&P) Global Ratings, on September 13, upgraded the Government of Jamaica’s Long-Term Foreign and Local Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) from B+ to BB-, with a ‘Stable’ outlook. 

It is the best global grading Jamaica has received from S&P since the entity started rating the country’s sovereign debt in 1999.

“Jamaica has the opportunity to access financing at costs lower than we have before, on a relative basis. Because the higher your credit rating, it means the more credit-worthy you are and the more credit-worthy you are, is the less that investors demand to lend you money,” Dr. Clarke stated.

“So, if you pay less for money that you need to finance yourself, it means more becomes available for other expenditure [such as] health, security and infrastructure. So, credit worthiness is linked to fiscal space. The higher your level of credit-worthiness, the more fiscal space that you can have, which, over a long period of time, amounts to a lot of resources,” he added.

The Minister was speaking during the opening ceremony for the Jamaica Institution of Engineers’ observance of Engineers’ Week, at The Summit in New Kingston on Monday (September 18).

Dr. Clarke also pointed out that there is a direct linkage between credit ratings and the country’s ability to finance the society’s needs.

He said Jamaica previously had a ranking of CCC, which is known as a junk credit rating status.

“There was a time where interest payments were 16 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP). Today, interest payments are like five per cent of GDP, and that is what has allowed us to rebalance the Jamaican economy, to put us on a strong footing and spend more on infrastructure than ever before,” Dr. Clarke indicated.

The Finance Minister also noted that the higher the credit rating, the more favourable the investment climate is deemed to be.

“It means that investments are less risky. Our credit rating is linked to the riskiness or the perceived riskiness of an economy. The higher the credit rating is the more open the economy will be to foreign investment. More foreign investment means more economic activity, more economic activity means more jobs for Jamaicans. So a higher credit rating provides an environment that supports the creation of more jobs for the Jamaican people,” Dr. Clarke stated.

Additionally, he said a higher credit rating affects the terms of trade that Jamaica has with the rest of the world.

Dr. Clarke pointed out that local businesses have to post bonds overseas in order to import items, while noting that Jamaica imports US$6 billion worth of items.

“For all of those imports, the businesses have to get credit… and for some of them, they have to post credit insurance, they have to put bonds up.  All of those become more affordable, the higher the credit rating of the country. So, this is wonderful news for Jamaica,” he stated.

Meanwhile, Dr. Clarke said Jamaica’s current credit rating is “just three notches below investment grade”.

“[Globally] there are trillions and trillions of institutional funds, [such as] pension funds. But you know what, because they are dealing with people’s lifetime savings, the rules forbid them to put a dollar of those kinds of money into countries that are below investment grade. When we get to investment grade credit rating, however, it is a different story,” the Minister informed.

“The kind of flows that will come to our shores represents the kind of investments that we have never imagined possible before. That is why it must be a national effort to, not only maintain the credit rating that we have earned as a country but to improve it… so that Jamaica becomes open to trillions of dollars of investable funds, to create opportunities for our people,” he added.

Dr. Clarke maintained that a higher credit rating will facilitate easier access to finance for projects.

 

Contact: Latonya Linton

Release: JIS

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RBC donates $175,000 to Hurricane Beryl relief efforts

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PORT OF SPAIN — In the wake of Hurricane Beryl, RBC Royal Bank (RY on TSX and NYSE) (“RBC”) and RBC Foundation USA announced a donation of C$175,000 to the Canadian Red Cross and the American Red Cross in support of Caribbean and U.S. relief efforts.

The devastating hurricane impacted several Caribbean and U.S. communities where RBC operates, including Barbados, the Cayman Islands, and Tobago.

RBC’s contribution will support emergency relief efforts, including shelters, hygiene kits, and social assistance to those in the affected communities.

“The intensity of Hurricane Beryl this early in the season is concerning and our thoughts are with the individuals affected in the Caribbean communities as well as in the U.S.,” said Chris Duggan, Head of RBC Caribbean Banking.

“At RBC, we believe it is our responsibility to support our communities in times of need. Our donation to the Red Cross, will provide immediate assistance to those impacted, ensuring they receive the necessary resources to recover and rebuild.”

Commenting on the Caribbean generosity as well as that of our larger RBC community, Duggan added: “The response of the RBC Caribbean Banking employees, as well as that of our larger RBC community has been generous and unhesitating. In response to the disaster, our colleagues are coming together in many unique and incredible ways and donating personally to help those affected.”

Those that would like to support the relief efforts can donate to the Canadian Red Cross at www.redcross.ca or the American Red Cross at www.redcross.org.

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PM Proposes Municipal Status for Negril

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#MontegoBay, Jamaica, July 13, 2024 – Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, has highlighted the need for Negril to have its own local authority, which will enable the town to better manage its affairs.

The Prime Minister, who was speaking to members of the Negril business community and other stakeholders on July 12, said the resort town has outgrown its current governance structure, posing challenges both to infrastructure and administration.

“Negril as a town is growing far beyond its infrastructure, it is also growing far beyond the system set up for local governance. Our system is that the towns are within a parish and the boundaries determine which local authority has control over the town,” Mr. Holness said.

“We will now have to do the necessary consultations and make the necessary legislative changes to give Negril its own Municipality. Towns and cities must be managed and managed from a local level,” he added

The Prime Minister said that due to the growth and expansion of Negril, the town has crossed over from Westmoreland into Hanover, leaving the question as to who is in charge.

“Based on all the communications I have received the stakeholders want to do things for themselves in Negril. I know there will be a challenge because of the parish boundaries, but we will have to work that out. Currently both Westmoreland and Hanover can take ownership, leaving the question as to who really is in charge,” he added.

Mr. Holness said that while there have been discussions on the matter in the past, it was time to give Negril its own Municipality.

“I know when we talk about this, especially for those who don’t live in Negril, there are indeed questions as why we would want to do this and upset the governance architecture that currently exist,” the Prime Minister added.

“Where the problem lies is where the solution should be. If the proper structure is put in place, I am convinced you could see an improvement in how the town is managed. Negril is going through what Portmore went through…to manage its own affairs. Any superior authority should empower the residents to do things for themselves. Negril has also outgrown not only it’s physical infrastructure but its management structure,” Mr. Holness further noted.

Negril, renowned for its stunning beaches and vibrant tourism industry, has experienced unprecedented growth in recent years.

 

Contact: Garwin Davis

Release: JIS

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Repair Bill for Trelawny Estimated at $30 Million

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#MontegoBay, Jamaica, July 13, 2024 – The Trelawny Municipal Corporation is reporting a preliminary repair cost of $30 million, due to the impact of hurricane beryl on the parish.

Mayor of Falmouth, Councillor Collen Gager made the disclosure during the Corporation’s monthly meeting held on Thursday (July 11).

He said that the damages were minimized due to the massive drain cleaning work carried out early in the hurricane season, across the nine divisions in the parish.

He stated that emphasis was placed on the clearance of storm drains, culverts and sink holes, particularly those in flood-prone areas.

“I must emphasize that we were well prepared…and we must also note… how quickly the roads …were cleared,” Mayor Gager stated.

He credited the relatively low repair bill to the work done by the Corporation’s Disaster Preparedness team, other members of staff and volunteers before and after the hurricane.

“I could see the councillors…from all nine divisions …out working after the storm…seeing to the welfare of residents,” Mayor Gager said.

He also informed that major damage was done to the Trelawny Infirmary, the nearby building which houses the Poor Relief Department, the roof of the Falmouth Market, and the recently established Falmouth Transportation Centre.

The Mayor however said that repair works were already underway.

He projected that ongoing sanitizing of the male and female wards, kitchen and bathrooms, as well as repairing the perimeter fence to the infirmary property should be completed within days.

Meanwhile, Mayor Gager said he was pleased that Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie has committed funds for repairs to the market.

This, he said, would contribute to maintaining public order in restricting the selling of agricultural produce and other consumer goods to that space.

 

Contact: Sharon Earle

Release: JIS       

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