Above: Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips
By the Caribbean Journal staff
It is time for Jamaica to make “the hard financial decisions now,” to protect future generations, according to Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips.
The Minister, who was speaking in London on Monday, said Jamaica had an unsustainable level of public debt, which currently stands at 145 percent of GDP.
“We need to reform our economic life, we need to reduce the level of public debt and we need to do so urgently if Jamaica’s sovereignty is to have any meaning for future generations,” he said.
It is important for Jamaica to avoid a “trap of debt” that typically befalls countries whose debts are above 60 or 90 percent of GDP, he said.
The country’s recently-signed IMF agreement seeks to reduce the debt to 96 percent of GDP by 2020.
Jamaica is also looking to cut wage expenditures in the public sector to no more than 9 percent from 10.6 percent of GDP, he said, with public sector workers having already agreed to a wage freeze until 2016.