KINGSTON, Jamaica, January 24, 2019 (CMC) – Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, is urging Jamaicans to acquire shares in public companies, listed on the island’s stock exchange.
“I am encouraging Jamaicans to buy shares in these public companies, when they are placed on the Stock Exchange, so that they can own some of these assets and share in the capital gains and in the profits of these assets, when these companies are listed,” Holness told the Jamaica Stock Exchange’s 14th Regional Investments and Capital Markets Conference, being held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston, on Tuesday night.
The conference, which ends today, is being held under the theme “Expanding our borders: securing our future”.
Holness said the average Jamaican should own shares in public companies, and that his government has been careful in crafting the placement of the energy company, Wigton Wind Farms, on the market and is encouraging Jamaicans to own a part of it.
Holness added that the government’s intention is to ensure that shares are broadly held and that the average Jamaican can participate in buying stocks.
He said, in this regard, he was imploring all Jamaicans to participate and support the new Social Enterprise Stock Market, launched on Tuesday night.
The market is additional, under the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE), and will join the main market, the junior market and the US dollar market, which are trading stock daily.
Holness said he was certain that the Agency for Inner-city Renewal (AIR), the Alpha School of Music, Choose Life International, DeafCan Coffee and Praise Jamaica “are the five companies, which you could describe them as social enterprises, that have been vetted by the Jamaica Stock Exchange, approved to be listed; that these companies are good entities, which [you can] put your philanthropic giving, and I endorse this”.
“I encourage all Jamaicans to participate by giving to these companies,” said Prime Minister Holness, as he also underscored the importance of having a robust stock market that can be used to address social and public interests, as it ensures that each enterprise meets certain standards of accountability in both fiduciary and governance.
The Prime Minister observed that Jamaica remains in good shape, based on notable economic out-turns and indicators that continue to emerge.
“News about our performance is not superficial; profound changes are taking place in our economy,” he said.
Holness said, among the notable indicators and out-turns are record high employment and low unemployment; robust net international reserves; a flexible foreign exchange rate; low inflation; ongoing debt reduction, forecast to fall below 100 percent by the end of the 2018/19 fiscal year; and a stock market, recognised as top-performing globally in 2018.
“There is no question about the economic performance of the country. It is our collective sacrifice that has achieved this. So, it is very good that we are being recognised for taking the right economic decisions that are yielding the right economic results,” the Prime Minister stated.
Meanwhile, Managing Director and Head of Emerging Markets, Fixed Income and Wealth Management at American Investment Bank, Jefferies Group LLC, Gregory Fisher, lauded the Holness administration for the steps taken, that are expected to reduce Jamaica’s debt to GDP to under 100 per cent by March.
Fisher said the out-turns suggest that Jamaica is on a solid upward trajectory, for which the administration should be commended.
“When lessons have been learnt, good things usually follow. I think that with all of the austerity that this country has gone through… those lessons have been learnt,” he added.