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Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw, is confident that the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will grant approval for the US$2.4 billion stand-by loan facility for Jamaica, when it meets today (February 4) in Washington D.C. to consider the application.
Mr. Shaw said the agreement will mark “a very significant point of departure” in the operations of Government in Jamaica.
“It will signify for all of us, that there are certain things that we have been doing, that we can no longer continue to do”. Mr. Shaw told the Post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House Wednesday (February 3)
He pointed out that the fundamental issues surrounding the agreement with the IMF and the international development partners would be supported by fiscal consolidation, regulation of the financial sector and the Jamaica Debt Exchange (JDX) programme.
On that note, Mr. Shaw said that, as of Tuesday, there was some 95 per cent acceptance of the JDX initiative.
“The Government of Jamaica is profoundly and deeply appreciative of the extraordinarily overwhelming, if not unprecedented, response of the financial community, of ordinary Jamaicans, of pensioners – everyone who has decided to come on board. Investors large and small, have given a response that represents a significant point of departure in the economic life of our country,” he stated.
Mr. Shaw said the type of cooperation being displayed by Jamaicans for the initiative is, potentially, more significant than a new IMF agreement.
“In the sense that it acknowledges that we just cannot continue like this.it acknowledges that we have to change our way of doing business,” he asserted.
The Finance Minister stressed that the JDX, which sees average interest rates going down to 12 per cent, was only the beginning of a process that would drive the Jamaican economy to accept single digit interest rates.
“That is the end game. When we are talking about single digit interest rates on Government paper, it means that we are sending the signal of low interest rates to the average man on the street that wants to invest, that wants to produce something, that wants to create jobs,” he said.
The formal exchange will be implemented on February 16.