Prime Minister, the Hon. Portia Simpson Miller says stimulating growth and employment is the highest priority of the Government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), at this time.
In a statement following a meeting with the visiting IMF Managing Director, Ms Christine Lagarde, at Jamaica House on Friday, June 27, the Prime Minister said the visit, the first by an IMF Managing Director, was more than symbolic.
The full text of the Prime Minister’s Statement reads:
“The Government of Jamaica is honoured to be hosting Madame Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund over the period June 27 to 28.
Earlier on Friday, Madame Lagarde and I had discussions here at Jamaica House.
On Friday morning she also met with the Minister of Finance, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips and senior officials including members of Jamaica’s economic management team.
Later Friday, the IMF Managing Director will meet with the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Andrew Holness; and also with members of private sector groups.
The visit of Madame Lagarde is more than symbolic.
It signifies the Fund’s acknowledgement and endorsement of the considerable progress which has been realized in the first year of Jamaica’s economic transformation programme — a programme aimed at reversing the country’s history of low growth and high debt.
The progress made in the first year of our programme includes:
- upfront fiscal consolidation and reform;
- several structural initiatives aimed at improving the business environment and restoring external price competitiveness; while
- Strengthening the social safety net.
Both the IMF and Jamaican authorities agree that under the economic transformation programme, which is fundamentally Jamaica’s programme, the:
- outlook for the domestic economy has improved,
- risks have diminished,
- domestic growth has picked up,
- net exports are stronger,
- inflation is being contained and
- Jamaica’s international reserves are recovering.
We recognize and appreciate that the progress and recovery already being experienced still need considerable care, nurturing and support from all segments of the Jamaican society.
We are conscious of the difficulties our people are experiencing in the current circumstances.
Stimulating growth and employment is, at this time, the highest priority of both the Government of Jamaica and the Fund.
We are advancing with major projects, which you will hear more about as they progress.
In this regard the Jamaican Government is committed to continuing the process of reform. We are placing specific focus on cementing the gains from fiscal consolidation while accelerating the pace of domestic growth, making further improvements in the business environment, and implementing major projects in a timely way to serve as catalysts for growth and development.
It is also the shared commitment of the Government and the IMF that vital social safety net programmes will be maintained to protect the most vulnerable, even as we press ahead with economic transformation.
The Government welcomes the recent news of the IMF’s Executive Board conclusion of the Article Four consultation and fourth review under the Extended Fund Facility which enabled the disbursement of an additional 45.95 million dollars in Special Drawing Rights (approximately US$70.9 million dollars).
This has brought total disbursements under the programme to date to Special Drawing Rights of 268.59 million dollars (or approximately US$414.4 million).
Jamaica thanks Madame Lagarde and her team for the policy advice, technical assistance and financial support which have proved valuable in our continuing quest for economic prosperity.
Ladies and gentlemen, members of the media, I thank you”.