Poorest will suffer most from slide in Jamaican dollar - PSOJ

Howard Mitchell
The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) has declared that Jamaica's poorest will be the ones hit hardest by the latest slide in the Jamaican dollar.
PSOJ President Howard Mitchell made the assertion even as to the Government and the Bank of Jamaica, which have said such fluctuations are expected and the foreign exchange rate will normalise soon.
However, Mr. Mitchell said it goes without question that, once the costs of inputs go up, prices to consumers will also rise.
"...Therefore, (these fluctuations) need to be avoided because we are a low wage economy and the people at the bottom of the economic pile must be feeling pain when these changes take place," he insisted. 
According to Mr. Mitchell, Jamaica's low productivity is a major factor behind continued fluctuations in the value of the Jamaican dollar against the US currency.
"Until we remove the impediments to production and until we increase the inputs that are local in our exports, we will not earn the kind of foreign exchange that will stop these fluctuations from taking place; and yes, I understand that we are more competitive in our exports when the US dollar moves against the Jamaican dollar, but quite frankly, if you are not exporting, that doesn't benefit anybody," he suggested. 
Mr. Mitchell said the only industry benefitting from the slide in the dollar is tourism. But, at the same time, he noted that there are concerns about the percentage of tourism earnings which remain in Jamaica. 
The Jamaican dollar is trading at an average $132.52 against the US currency.

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