However, Phillips who was a guest on a television current affairs programme late Wednesday, cautioned that the country is not yet out of the woods.
“There’s definitely pain before gain in the sense that we will have tight budgets for some time to come.”
He said it will take some time before all the productive and new productive activities which are going to take the country out of the difficulty will get started. The Finance Minister cautioned that the process of simply getting an idea and moving that idea to a plan will take some time.
Concerning news of a rise in unemployment and declines in some sectors, he expressed optimism that the economy will experience growth this fiscal year in keeping with projections agreed on with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“Well the targets in the programme are defined conservatively. They don’t take account of major projects…the ports being established, integrated resort development, some additional hotel construction. We hope to be able to add to those projections,” he said.
Those ‘passive projections’ will see the country returning on a path to growth this fiscal year, he added.
The Finance Minister also signaled that Jamaicans will be spared from increased taxes over the next few years as the focus will remain on increasing the tax base.
“What we really want to do in relation to taxes – without getting into specifics, is to reduce effective rates and broaden the base so that you can have lower rates. We want to also reduce the tariff rates, particularly on things to do with machinery and equipment and raw materials… you want to get out of the way of those who produce,” he said.