Mark Titus, Gleaner Writer
Key stakeholders in the business community in western Jamaica are cautiously optimistic about the deal struck between the Government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and have given the Richard Byles and Brian Wynter-led monitoring committee its vote of confidence.
"The IMF agreement is certainly welcome news as it will restore some level of confidence to business operators, considering what is happening with the economy, as it relates to the speculations - which has caused the rapid devaluation of the Jamaican dollar," said Davon Crump, president of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry
He added: "We are hoping that the Government can now get on with the running of our country and focus on some of the other challenges that our citizens face on a daily basis. Hopefully, with the stabilisation of the dollar, business owners can now make effective plans towards success and profitability."
The deal, which will result in Jamaica gaining access to close to US$2 billion in loans over the next four years, was approved by the IMF on Wednesday.
While he is relieved that the deal is now settled, Nigel Myrie, president of the Westmoreland Chamber of Commerce and Industry, believes the work to put the economy back on track is just beginning.
"This does not mean that all problems are gone," Myrie told The Gleaner. "The Government has a lot to do to make this work, and the monitoring committee must ensure that the legislators stick to the plan or we will be right back at square one - or worse."
have to make it work
He added: "We need the growth agenda to work. We just have to do whatever is required to get this arrangement to work."
With the deal now signed, Evelyn Smith, president of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, is calling for a greater focus on strategies to grow the productive sector.
"It is good to know we are now past that hurdle, but the IMF deal is just one aspect of our life as a nation," Smith told The Gleaner. "We must understand that it is a matter of priority that we get the productive sector growing at a greater level."
She said: "We have always believed that tourism is a key driver of the economy, and we must continue to ensure that the right enabling environment is there for tourism and seek and find the ways to put the other linkages to tourism on a path to profitability."