Jamaica: “Nothing Off the Table” with IMF

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Above, from left: IMF Caribbean Regional Director, Luis Breuer; IMF Resident Representative, Dr Gene Leon, Financial Secretary Dr Wesley Hughes and Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips (JIS Photo)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Following the International Monetary Fund’s visit to Jamaica this week, the government said it was considering all options in its upcoming negotiations next month for a new agreement.

“Nothing is off the table, except that we want to have an agreement that will build confidence in the investment community and among all stakeholders,” said Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips.

The Minister also said that while the country does not have a “pressing” balance of payment problem right now, any new agreement would serve to enhance investor confidence and generate the release of funds from Jamaica’s other bilateral and multilateral partners.

“We don’t have an urgent balance of payment problem and the IMF lends money primarily for balance of payment support,” he said. “That is not what drives us, even though we certainly need some support, and that support won’t be triggered unless we have a good IMF programme for the most part, neither from our multilateral partners nor from our bilateral partners.”

Phillips said the country would go into negotiations, which are slated to take place in Washington, DC next month, with all options on the table, including a staff-monitored programme.

“We are going to look at the options when the negotiations get to that intensive stage,” he said. “But much more technical work needs to be done.”