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Construction Can Boost Growth

The construction sector can become a far more effective driver of economic growth through the development of more effective partnerships between the public and private sectors.

Petal James, client relationship manager at JN Bank, said that the sector has played a major role in the economy, but noted that the construction of new housing units has plunged over the past decade and-a-half. She said that greater integration between private sector initiatives and the public sector, could stimulate the industry and enhance economic growth.

"The private sector can provide a critical linchpin in addressing our housing needs," James said. "Together, with the Government, housing developers and mortgage entities can mobilise the technical and financial resources to deliver necessary housing solutions."

This is of major significance against the background of the Planning Institute of Jamaica report that housing start ups have declined from a high of 9,396 in 2002 to 1,467 in 2015. At the same time, government has indicated that the country needs in the region of 10,000 to 15,000 housing units per year to address our increasing housing demand.

"We should really be using our current demand of some 15,000 houses annually, with some amount of creativity, to stimulate growth in the economy through construction," James stated. She was addressing the eighth annual Mona School of Business & Management (MSBM) Roundtable and CEO Breakfast Forum, at The University of the West Indies, Mona, last Wednesday.

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