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Minister of Finance and the Public Service, the Hon Audley Shaw, says that the Jamaican Government has been bold and courageous in entering into a new arrangement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“We have had to make decisions, whether or not they are politically popular,” Mr. Shaw told the audience at the Jamaica National Building Society’s (JNBS) “Outlook for the Future” series of public meetings on “A New Economic Future for Jamaica” in London on Friday (March 12).
Mr. Shaw said that the Government had to make tough decisions to reverse the county’s economic decline. He said that being politically correct was not the issue as, “the decision must be in the interest of the long-term sustainability of our country.”
“This Government has been bold and courageous in going to the IMF. It means that we have to run a tight ship to cut out waste and corruption, improve governance and get more production going; be more creative and form meaningful partnerships with the Diaspora,” he explained.
He said that, while the global economic crisis has had a serious impact on the country, some of the economic difficulties preceded the crisis, as the country had been ‘slipping and sliding’ with no direction or purposeful path, while financing itself by borrowing. Mr. Shaw said that no country could borrow its way out of poverty, and the government was now undertaking a radical structural transformation of the economy.
According to him, the Government had a plan based on the principle of good governance, with three fundamental principles: fiscal consolidation; better debt management; and better management of the financial system.
He said that the country has continued to be characterised by great potential, but the problems have been more of leadership rather than a people problem.”I think we have the strength of character, the vision, the sense of decency and sense of purpose, to provide the leadership that can put the country on the right path, even if in the process our own political future is sacrificed,” he stated.