Sun | May 1, 2016

LETTER OF THE DAY - Don't blame IMF for Ja's rotten economy

Published:Saturday | January 12, 2013 | 12:00 AM


The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is neither a hero nor a villain. It is, effectively, a banker of last resort, prepared to lend money when no one else will.

That's not an advantageous place to be in, and if it is not to be a 'boops', in Jamaican parlance, funnelling money to lenders who cannot or will not repay, it must take special care to ascertain exactly those things.

When dealing with an extremely heavily indebted client like Jamaica, it must be diligent in its efforts to ascertain Jamaica's ability to repay the additional debt it is seeking. This should be easy to understand.

While we are waving the flag of sovereignty, we should consider the extent to which we are using it as a device of convenience. Our failure, over many decades, to act in accordance with notions of sovereignty has got us to this place where we must borrow still more, but only one source will entertain us.

Those huge sums borrowed by governments of both parties over many decades funded too much consumption and corruption. Now the bill has come due. The IMF should be commended for insisting that we deal with them as a condition of further borrowing, and rejecting our efforts to kick the can further down the road.

no 'sovereign right'

We don't have a sovereign right to employ as many people as we wish without consideration for their contribution and how they'll be paid. We don't have a sovereign right to ignore labour productivity's continuous decline over the past 30 years, nor the decay in our education system, nor the continuous increase in national indebtedness.

Can we claim a sovereign right to not address the issues gutting our ability to generate growth over a period of decades? These are not issues of sovereignty as much as they are of accountability.

There will undoubtedly be pain as we are compelled to deal with issues we have shown a distinct tendency to avoid. Let future generations call us blessed for having had the courage to stop the rot here.


Kingston 6