Above: IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde
By the Caribbean Journal staff
The economic outlook for Jamaica “is improving,” International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde said following her official visit to the country.
Lagarde, who made her first official visit to Jamaica last week, held talks with Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, Finance Minister Peter Phillips and Bank of Jamaica Governor Brian Wynter.
“Compared to a year ago, growth has picked up, unemployment has declined, inflation has been brought under control, the current account deficit has shown an ongoing improvement, and reserves are starting to recover,” she said. “Debt-to-GDP has firmly been put on a downward trajectory. Key reforms were implemented, in particular, the tax incentive legislation and the fiscal rule. But there are other major reforms that are still pending, including improving the collection of taxes, modernizing the public sector, and improving the business climate, and a prudent fiscal stance needs to be sustained.”
Her talks with Jamaican officials centered on economic policy priorities and the outlook for Jamaica, she said.
She additionally met with members of the Opposition, labour unions and representatives from the private sector, among others.
“Economic adjustment is painful in the short run,” she said. “Many Jamaicans have experienced wage freezes, and are facing higher prices for food and other essentials. That is why the social safety net component of the program is so important. If Jamaica continues on the path of fundamental reform, the foundation for a better future will be put in place. We are deeply committed to working closely with Jamaica on achieving its economic goals.”