Opposition Spokesman on Finance, Planning, Growth and Economic Development, Audley Shaw, today called on the Minister of Finance and Planning,Peter Phillips, to focus on dealing expeditiously with the outstanding issues delaying a new IMF Agreement and abandon the inappropriate strategy of asking the US Government for political support in dealing with the IMF.
Mr. Shaw said that in commenting on a recent offer by the US Government to give the Government of Jamaica technical assistance to negotiate a new IMF Agreement, the Minister is quoted in a Monday Newspaper online story that “Jamaica is mainly hoping that political support from the United States will help to encourage the IMF to move swiftly in approving a new programme.”
Mr. Shaw said that the Minister’s statement reveals a new level of desperation that is occasioned by his obvious inability to meet the requirements of the IMF on a timely basis, or his election promise so glibly made last year, without being mindful of the critical issues surrounding the IMF Standby Agreement of the time. It also reveals the lack of economic direction and political will of this Government to do what must be done.
“Instead of graciously accepting the offer of the US Government for technical assistance, we are now faced with the spectre of Jamaica asking the Government of the United States to, in effect, interfere with the decision making process at the IMF”
“This is unworthy of the Minister, who should abandon that strategy and seek instead to fast track the implementation of the critical benchmark requirements that can lead to a credible medium term programme that is acceptable to the IMF and all other stakeholders including the people of Jamaica.”
“While I was Minister of Finance, I did not seek political favours from foreign Governments but kept our strategic partners, especially the United States Government, fully informed of Jamaica’s progress in achieving critical steps which led to a Standby Agreement with the IMF in 2010.”
Mr. Shaw said that the United States Government would not be doing Jamaica any favour if they were to encourage the IMF to compromise its preconditions that will lead to Jamaica achieving its long-term strategic goal of fiscal sustainability, economic growth and development.
Mr. Shaw also said that the recent report by Standard and Poors has now placed a new agreement with the IMF at centre stage, failing which, there is a clear and present danger of Jamaica being downgraded by that credit rating agency.