Wed | Sep 19, 2018

Jamaica should avoid going back to the IMF- Clarke

Published:Wednesday | April 11, 2018 | 1:18 PM
Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr Nigel Clarke - File photo

Edmond Campbell, Senior Staff Reporter

Minister of Finance and the Public Service Dr Nigel Clarke says Jamaica should manage its economic affairs in a disciplined manner so that there is no need to return to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) when the current Precautionary Stand-by Agreement ends in late 2019.

Clarke says in recent times Jamaica has gained significantly from the implementation of fiscal, monetary and structural reforms across two consecutive political administrations under IMF agreements.

Signalling that the current administration has no intention of entering into new arrangements with the IMF, Clarke noted that Jamaica has exited arrangements with the fund over decades from the 1970s to 1990s, only to return to new engagements.

“We exited those programmes only to return the following decade,” he said.

“It has to be our ambition, however, that when we conclude with the IMF at the end of the Precautionary Stand-by Agreement, we avoid reversal and instead manage our affairs in a disciplined and thoughtful way that our exit from a programme relationship with the fund is sustained over time with no need to return,” Clarke declared.

He was speaking this morning at a Labour Market Forum staged by the Planning Institute of Jamaica in collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank at the Terra Nova Hotel in St Andrew.

It is not the first time that a political administration has expressed such a position.

In 1995, former prime minister P.J. Patterson announced that the country would end its borrowing relationship with the IMF.

Speaking at the People’s National Party annual conference Patterson declared “Goodbye, ta-ta, au revoir” to the IMF to resounding cheers from party supporters.

However, the country returned to a borrowing relationship with the fund under the Bruce Golding administration.

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