Dr Nigel Clarke is asserting that Jamaica’s eventual exit from a programme relationship with the International Monetary Fund must be positively different this time around
Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr Nigel Clarke is asserting that Jamaica’s eventual exit from a programme relationship with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), on conclusion of the Precautionary Stand-By Arrangement, must be positively different this time around.
Addressing the Labour Market Forum yesterday, Dr Clarke emphasised that it should be Jamaica’s ambition that “when we conclude with the IMF this time, we avoid reversal and instead manage our affairs in a thoughtful and disciplined way so that our exit from a programme relationship with the IMF is sustained over time with no need to return.”
He added that this should be the goal “even as Jamaica, a member institution of the IMF, always retains the option to access the wealth of the IMF’s technical and advisory capacity over the course of time.”
Dr Clarke observed that exits from the programme engagements with the IMF in the 1970s, the 1980s and the 1990s were short-lived and Jamaica returned to a borrowing relationship the following decade. The Finance Minister stressed that this period of engagement with IMF engagement stands out as distinct from those prior periods as “Jamaica has gained significantly from the steadfast implementation of fiscal, monetary and structural policy reforms across two consecutive administrations.”
The Finance Minister notes that in ensuring that the post-IMF era is sustainable, the Government will pursue programmes and policies underpinned by the need to achieve economic independence, the expansion of economic opportunity for all and the protection of vulnerable groups. “These priorities are sometimes in tension with each other. As a result, the policy options to support economic expansion have to be balanced by the mandate to secure our economic independence even as the urgency of economic independence has to be tempered by the imperative of protecting the vulnerable,” he emphasised. However, Dr Clarke notes, “that these priorities can be made to complement each other. Our prospects for economic independence increase with sustained expansion of the economy while protection of the vulnerable preserves the social capital required to pursue both.”