Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw, has said that since resuming its programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Jamaica has recorded unquestioned economic progress.
“There is now no debate as to whether there has been progress in the last three years, in the Jamaican economy,” the Minister told an audience on Thursday October 7 at a J.P. Morgan Investor Seminar entitled “A New Frontier: Looking Beyond the Traditional Markets”.
Mr. Shaw, who was speaking specifically on the topic “Jamaica: Progress under the IMF programme” at a seminar at the JW Marriott Hotel in downtown Washington, D.C., also expressed confidence that Jamaica would pass the September 2010 IMF “test.”
Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw, addresses participants at the J.P. Morgan Investor Seminar entitled ‘A New Frontier: Looking Beyond the Traditional Markets’, on Thursday October 7 at the JW Marriott Hotel in downtown Washington, D.C., U.S.A.
He noted that the microeconomic fundamentals were all pointing “in the right direction.” He also highlighted, among the economic successes: a stable foreign exchange rate, interest rates on Government paper and Central Bank deposit instruments at a 33 year low, inflation rate projected in the six to seven per cent range, and the net international reserves being at “a healthy” US$1.9 billion”.
“Had it not been for the setback due to the recent Tropical Storm Nicole, the economy, for the first time since 2008, was set to grow in the December and March quarters of this fiscal year,” said Mr. Shaw.
He also pointed out that the agreement with the IMF opened the door to US$2.4 billion, in inflows from the IMF and other financial multilateral institutions.
“We have passed the first and second IMF tests with flying colours,” he declared.
In terms of the September 2010 IMF test, the results of which are due shortly, he said he was confident that despite Tropical Storm Nicole, the country’s economy would pass that crucial test, as well.
Mr. Shaw told investors, policy-makers and other experts attending the seminar that the Government’s medium-term economic and financial programme was designed to return Jamaica to a path of sustainable growth and development. He said it was aimed at building a more resilient economy, to allow for more “maneuvering room” to cope with external shocks.
He pointed to the “resounding success” of the Jamaica Debt Exchange (JDX), which opened in January and closed on February 24 with a participation rate of 99.2 per cent. He noted that the JDX was not conceptualised simply as a financial transaction, but as an integral part of Jamaica’s strategic economic programme.
Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, Her Excellency Audrey P. Marks, also attended the investor seminar.
Mr. Shaw was also scheduled to meet with the IMF Deputy Managing Director, as well as with the Executive Director, on Thursday October 7, to brief them on the level of damage Jamaica suffered from Tropical Storm Nicole, and its likely impact on the financial programme. He will also address Commonwealth finance ministers at a plenary session at the IMF headquarters.
The Minister and his delegation arrived in Washington D.C. on Thursday morning (October 7), to attend the four-day annual meeting of the IMF and the World Bank, after which he is expected to travel to Europe.