IMF head says Jamaica setting standards in collaboration

Friday, November 17, 2017

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — Managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, says Jamaica is “setting standards” in the collaborative approach being taken in implementing the economic reform programme.

“For the last seven years as managing director of the IMF, I have seen many programmes, and I have attended many reviews of programmes at the board. But, I have never seen a programme that is inclusive in the way in which you reach out to civil society,” Lagarde said.

She was speaking at a joint Government/IMF press briefing, following bilateral talks with Prime Minister Andrew Holness, on Friday (November 17) at the Office of the Prime Minister.

Lagarde said the committees established under the reform programme are critical to “understanding, negotiating, endorsing and eventually implementing… what you are committed to”.

These include generating higher levels of sustainable economic growth, and further debt reduction. “I hope that continues, and that this communication, this consultative process that you have used, so far, will continue throughout the years to come and particularly throughout the process that you are starting now on the public sector,” she said.

The Government is now undertaking structural and economic reforms in keeping with stipulations under the IMF's three-year Precautionary Stand-by Arrangement.

In his remarks, Holness said the Government is keen on building partnerships, and has incorporated additional stakeholders to monitor the reform efforts.

He noted that key to this process is public sector transformation, which is also being undertaken “within a spirit of partnership and stakeholder engagement”.

The prime minister pointed out that the partnership with the IMF in the Government's drive to undertake economic reform has remained strong and transcended Administrations.

He noted that over time, Jamaica is “taking more ownership and responsibility for our economic reforms even while we continue to utilise the incredible technical assistance and support of the IMF”.

“Country ownership and responsibility means implementing policies not just to meet a target or to pass a review but also because they are central to our goal of economic independence,” he said. Lagarde thanked Holness “for being such a passionate advocate of economic independence”, noting that “we at the IMF are a tool, a conduit and a partner in this endeavour”.

Other participants in the meeting included Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Audley Shaw; Governor of the Bank of Jamaica, Brian Wynter; State Ministers for Finance, Fayval Williams and Rudyard Spencer; Minister of Justice, Delroy Chuck; and Ambassador for Economic Affairs, Dr Nigel Clarke.

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