Ravaged by fallout from the coronavirus disease, the Holness administration has established a high-powered task force to kick-start Jamaica’s battered economy and chart the road to recovery in the medium term.
Chaired by Finance and the Public Service Minister Dr Nigel Clarke, the committee was approved by Cabinet yesterday and comprises leaders and thinkers from academia and industry.
Bemoaning how quickly the effects of the dreaded virus severed tens of thousands of jobs locally, Clarke told a press conference from Jamaica House yesterday that the administration was determined to restore economic activity and claw back employment numbers lost in the wake of COVID-19. The lifting of a lockdown of St Catherine, by Friday morning, is also expected to unshackle commerce in a parish with a population topping half a million.
Clarke indicated that data from SET Cash applications captured 60,000 people who had lost their jobs and were now seeking financial assistance.
This category of persons, he said, comprised mainly persons below the age of 40 who were now facing heavy obligations, including rent, mortgage, and hire-purchase arrangements, without an income to keep them afloat.
“We, through the Economic Recovery Task Force, our job is going to be to do all that we can working with other sectors in the society to ensure that we have the best chance for a recovery of all the jobs that have been temporarily laid off or terminated, that we can have a restoration of economic activity to allow persons to resume the lives they have lived,” said Clarke.