Jamaica Begins Talks with IMF

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - January 19, 2012

Above: Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips (right) is welcomed to the Mayberry Investment Forum Wednesday by Mayberry Investments CEO Gary Peart (JIS Photo)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

The Jamaican government has begun preliminary talks with the International Monetary Fund, Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips announced yesterday at the Mayberry Investment Forum in Kingston.

The status of the country’s agreement with the IMF has been a major issue in Jamaican politics for some time.

“These negotiations are going to be tough, but based on the discussions [yesterday], I can say that there is a spirit of goodwill and the atmosphere is good,” he said.

The discussions are currently in the “preliminary phase,” according to Dr Phillips.

“This agreement will be based on the establishment of credible, predictable and achievable macroeconomic targets that will inspire confidence among local and international investors, as well as other stakeholders,” he said. “Any programme going forward must involve comprehensive tax reforms, reform of the public sector pension system, public sector transformation and a reduction in public sector costs.”

An IMF delegation arrived in Jamaica on Tuesday.

The Minister said the current programme, which will expire in May 2012, had not been completed due to the fact that various “critical” structural benchmarks and targets had been either delayed or missed.

“An entirely new programme now has to be negotiated and new targets set, focusing on growing the economy,” he said.

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