Shaw Says IMF Talks "Going Nicely"


Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon Audley Shaw, says he is optimistic that the Government will successfully negotiate the US$1.2 billion standby facility it is seeking with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The facility has become necessary in the face of a fall-off of some US$1billion in the Government’s revenues, consequent on the global economic downturn and its impact on key foreign exchange earners such as bauxite/alumina and remittances.
Addressing the 15th annual International Development Partners (IDP) retreat at the Morgan’s Harbour Hotel, Port Royal in Kingston, on Tuesday (November 24), Mr. Shaw said the Ministry was in the “final stages” of preparing the Letter of Intent, which will form the basis for a formal agreement.
“I don’t want to be preemptive of the internal processes of the IMF. They have their own bureaucracy, in terms of how they pass the Letter of Intent through the system to the ultimate approval. Let’s just say it’s going nicely, and they themselves have issued two statements to say that we are making good progress, and what I can now say to you is that, we are making even better progress,” the Finance Minister assured.
Alluding to fears regarding the attendant conditionalities, as well as questions regarding the timeline for finalising the negotiations, Mr. Shaw pointed to the administration’s commitment to performance-based loans.
“We have put in place ambitious targets, self-imposed, by the way, for fiscal responsibility, for placing limits on our debts to GDP ratios, placing limits on our fiscal deficit targets, imposing very important plans,” he said.
However, Mr. Shaw said that, despite his confidence, he would not give a timeline for completion of the negotiations.
“I’m not going to do that, except to say that I am confident as Minister of Finance. So confident that we will have an IMF agreement that my job could very well rest on that kind of confidence,” he stated.
The IDP comprises international donor agencies that primarily have offices in Jamaica. These include: the United States Agency for International Development (USAID); United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the World Bank.
The retreat is being held November 24 and 25, and aims to promote frank and fruitful discussions among members of the global donor community, in order to facilitate consensus on a cogent and co-ordinated approach to Jamaica.

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