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IDB executive hails Jamaica for its management of the economy

Published:Friday | September 8, 2017 | 12:00 AMEdmond Campbell
Olivia Grange (left), minister of culture, gender, entertainment and sport, greets Julie Katzman, executive vice president of the Inter-American Development Bank, duriing an IDB forum, Empowering Men and Women to Improve Lives, at the University of the West Indies Regional Headquarters on September 6.

Julie Katzman, executive vice-president of the Inter American Development Bank, says Jamaica has done an outstanding job of taking action to "right the economic ship" which she said was a precondition for any kind of strong economic growth.

Katzman argued that it is difficult for any economy to grow when its underlying pillars are not strong. According to Katzman, the over-indebtedness of the economy was something that had to be tackled before the country could move to the next stage.

"Between 2013 when the Government started its programme with the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and today, what you have seen is a dramatic decrease in borrowing costs for the Government, actually more than any other country in Latin America and the Caribbean," she said during an interview with The Gleaner last week.

"You have seen the performance of the (Jamaica) stock market in dollar terms as a total return, outperforming pretty much any stock market in the region, including that of the United States," she added.

In 2015, Bloomberg reported that the Jamaica Stock Exchange was the best performing exchange in the world.

While in Jamaica on a two-day official visit, Katzman signed a loan agreement with Finance Minister Audley Shaw for a US$20-million loan which will facilitate increased access to credit for micro, small and medium enterprises, MSMEs in Jamaica.

In her comments at the signing ceremony held at the Ministry of Finance, Katzman said that the challenges faced by MSMEs in Jamaica are not uncommon. MSMEs have difficulty in accessing quality finance that allows them to borrow for multiple years, and MSMEs are challenged to find rates that are both fair and affordable.