US Congresswoman Welcomes IMF Decision to Lower Primary Surplus

Photo: Garwin Davis New York Congresswoman, Yvette Clark (left), shares a light moment with President of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Gloria Henry, at the Chamber’s Annual Awards Banquet held at the Hilton Rosehall Hotel, St. James on Saturday, November 14.

Story Highlights

  • New York Congresswoman, Yvette Clarke, has welcomed the decision by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to lower the primary surplus target under Jamaica’s Economic Reform Programme.
  • The IMF team, last week, agreed to reduce the target by 0.5 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) by the 2016/17 fiscal year.
  • Ms. Clarke is among five Members of the Congressional Black Caucus who, earlier this year, wrote to President Obama, urging him to influence the IMF to lower Jamaica’s primary surplus target to allow for more economic growth.

New York Congresswoman, Yvette Clarke, has welcomed the decision by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to lower the primary surplus target under Jamaica’s Economic Reform Programme.

The IMF team, last week, agreed to reduce the target by 0.5 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) by the 2016/17 fiscal year.

“I am happy to hear that there has been some type of easing of the IMF agreement. You have certainly earned it. Let me tell you something… Jamaica is certainly the envy of many in what you have been able to achieve,” Ms. Clarke said.

She was giving the keynote address at the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Annual Awards Dinner at the Hilton Rose Hall Hotel in Rose Hall, St. James, on Saturday, November 14.

Ms. Clarke is among five Members of the Congressional Black Caucus who, earlier this year, wrote to President Obama, urging him to influence the IMF to lower Jamaica’s primary surplus target to allow for more economic growth.

The others were: veteran California Congresswoman, Maxine Waters, who is a Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee, which has jurisdiction over the US participation in the IMF and the World Bank; New York Congressman, Charles Rangel; Texas Congresswoman, Sheila Jackson Lee; and New York Congressman, Gregory Meeks.

In their letter, the lawmakers expressed concern that Jamaica’s “enormous debt burden remains a major obstacle to growth, and the extreme fiscal austerity imposed on the country has proven counterproductive.”

They asked the President to urge the IMF to revisit the terms of Jamaica’s loan programme in order to boost growth.

Ms. Clarke hailed the success of the move, as a clear sign that Jamaica is viewed as a pivotal partner in US-Caribbean relations.

“In meetings with Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, and other leaders, President Obama pledged to expand support for economic development in the region,” she said.

Ms. Clarke noted that the Jamaican Diaspora in the US is very influential and ways should be found to engage them further in national development.

“Some of the wealthiest people in the US are from Jamaica and other Caribbean islands,” she pointed out.

Ms. Clarke said she is committed to encouraging greater investments from the United States, particularly from the Caribbean-American community, to Jamaica and other CARICOM nations.

“For this reason, I have worked to re-establish the Congressional Caribbean Caucus of the 114th Session of Congress. We will continue to work with federal agencies to protect bilateral relations between the United States and Jamaica. I am committed, as President Obama has been committed, to building the relationship between Jamaica and the United States on issues such as trade, energy, security and economic development,” she noted further.

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