JIS News

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, Senator the Honourable Don Wehby, on his recent trip to Washington D.C. held wide-ranging discussions with the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) and the World Bank (WB).
Discussions with the IADB were the primary objective of the trip. Minister Wehby, on the suggestion of His Excellency Alberto Moreno, President of the IADB, who visited Jamaica earlier this year, met with Mr. Dan Zelikow, IADB Executive Vice President. He used thatmeeting to give a brief overview of the Jamaican economy, highlighting the positives with regard to tourism, remittance inflows, the NIR and the better than programmed fiscal performance for the first two months of the 2008/09 fiscal year.
The IADB congratulated the delegation on the significant reforms already achieved and those currently underway, while underscoring the Bank’s willingness to support the Government’s initiatives in this regard. The discussion explored policy initiatives on which the GOJ could partner with the IADB in the future. Among the issues discussed was the GOJ’s desire to increase the proportion of the multilateral loan portfolio in the debt stock. Additional policy based loans from the IADB in the future were identified as a potential avenue for achieving this objective. It would allow the IADB to support the GOJ’s medium term reform initiatives while simultaneously meeting the GOJ’s desire to increase its multilateral loan portfolio. Discussions were also held on the Jamaica Competitiveness Enhancement Programme, the first structural adjustment operation to be approved in several years, that seeks to increase the competitiveness of the private sector to boost economic growth.
The Minister sought additional information on the IADB’s new Food Security Credit Line and its applicability to Jamaica in terms of addressing the effect of the international food crisis on the country. It was agreed that a mission would visit Jamaica to start preparing this financing operation. The IADB additionally expressed great interest in conducting detailed research on Jamaica’s agricultural sector, as a step towards greater GOJ-IADB agricultural related partnership programmes.
The GOJ delegation met with the World Bank where the Minister provided a similar update on the Jamaican economy before updating the World Bank Team on the GOJ Tax Reform Programme. The update was well received, and the World Bank agreed to examine how the Bank could partner with the GOJ on this initiative. The GOJ also expressed its interest in expanding its multilateral loan portfolio to the WB. The WB also took the opportunity to update the delegation, from their end, on the ongoing work and pipeline ideas for the WB-GOJ partnerships already in operation and assured the GOJ of their commitment towards partnering with the GOJ, in the effort to increase the multilateral loan portfolio.