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Speech

Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw, has described as grossly inaccurate statements made by the Leader of the Opposition the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, regarding discussions with the IMF, at her party’s conference at the National Arena, on Sunday (September 20).
According to Mr. Shaw, Mrs. Simpson Miller, “grossly misrepresented the state of Jamaica’s negotiations for a Stand-by Agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).”
“The planned visit to Jamaica of an IMF team in the second week of September was cancelled, because of the need to make further adjustments to the Government’s fiscal and medium-term economic programme,” Mr. Shaw said.
“These adjustments became necessary because of the Government’s decision not to pursue a Liability Management Programme with its bondholders.The Government has already explained that this decision was taken after carefully weighing the risks involved, including further downgrade of Jamaica’s bonds and the costly impact this would have on bond prices and interest rates against the benefits to be derived from such a programme,” the Minister explained.
“As a result of this decision, adjustments had to be made in both the fiscal and medium term economic programme, to achieve the desired macro-economic targets. No useful purpose would therefore have been served by the visit to Jamaica of the IMF team, or to Washington of the Jamaican team,” he asserted.
Mr. Shaw said that the Government conveyed this position to the Opposition a week ago.
“As the Government has previously asserted, its fiscal and medium-term programmes and any necessary adjustments thereto are its own creation and are not dictated by the IMF. The revised programmes, incorporating the necessary adjustments, were approved by the Cabinet at a special meeting on Thursday, September 17,” Mr. Shaw stated.
“The consequential documentation will be submitted to the IMF this week, by a technical team led by the Governor of the Bank of Jamaica Hon. Derick Latibeaudiere, which leaves the island for Washington D.C. on Tuesday, September 22, for detailed discussions,” he added.
The team will include the Financial Secretary, Dr Wesley Hughes, and other personnel from the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service and the Bank of Jamaica. Thereafter, further discussions will take place with the IMF, during the Minister’s attendance at the Annual Meetings of the IMF/World Bank in Istanbul, Turkey, in early October.