← News Thu May 29, 2014 - 5:25 pm - 0 comments

A fresh look at the IMF programme

IMF-Building

AT a recent annual general meeting, one of Jamaica’s private sector leaders summed up Jamaica’s situation as one where “we have not managed our public finances well”, and are now in the process of fiscal correction which unfortunately has had to be “driven by external forces” , meaning the IMF. He noted that the contraction of public spending affects any business in the domestic market, and that costs are going up disproportionately in line with Jamaica’s continuing devaluation. The current government was trying hard, he argued, but the issue of the sustainability of the correction remained.

The opening line of the IMF statement released last week Friday by head of mission Jan Kees Martijn, echoed by Bank of Jamaica Governor Brian Wynter at his quarterly press briefing, argues: “The economic outlook is improving. Since the start of the programme in early 2013, crisis risks have receded, growth has picked up, net exports are stronger, inflation has been brought under control, and reserves have started to recover”. In a key line, Martijn notes: “Reducing debt to a sustainable level is expected to take a decade of restraint and multiple years of productivity enhancing policies”.

Published in the Jamaica Observer
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