Mon | Jan 22, 2018

UWI moves to influence IMF talks

Published:Saturday | October 8, 2016 | 12:00 AMRomario Scott

As the country awaits an announcement on the successor programme to the current extended fund facility between the Government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Economics Department at the University of the West Indies, Mona, is putting on the table suggestions on the way forward.

Professor David Tennant, the head of the department, told The Gleaner that although Jamaica has made significant strides in the areas of fiscal reform, fiscal discipline and debt-management reform, the economic recovery process has a far way to go.

The department head says he hopes the policymakers will base their ultimate decision on "sound economic theory and rigorous empirical research".


Promise to be proactive


He says the department will be fulfilling its promise to be proactive in engaging stakeholders on the issue.

"We will be having several forums, the first one on October 13 at 5 p.m. at our campus at the Medical Science Lecture Theatre One, where we will have experts across the financial and economic spectrum helping to guide the discussion. It is the first time we are going to have this and we hope to make a big impact."

Co-chairman of the Government's Economic Programme Oversight Committee Richard Byles; former head of the Planning Institute of Jamaica Dr Colin Bullock; UWI lecturer in the Department of Economics Dr Andre Haughton, and Constant Lonkeng Ngaouna, the resident representative of the IMF in Jamaica, are among the persons who will discuss key issues surrounding the programme.

A representative from the department said it appears that both the Government and the IMF believe it is in Jamaica's best interest to have more than a surveillance programme, but stressed that there was need for more discussion on the issue.

Meanwhile, as the Government and the IMF ponder a successor programme, the economics department said several options could be explored.

"They can provide technical reviews and reform of business processes relating to project approvals, [they can give] technical support on public-sector expenditure management and public-sector investment decisions, and there can also be support in developing critical projects with public-private partnerships with international players," the representative said.