Sun | Dec 11, 2016

IMF mission chief stays clear of Outameni debacle

Published:Sunday | November 16, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Head of the IMF mission to Jamaica, Jan Kees Marjtin, has refused to be drawn into the current debate over the acquisition of a property at Orange Grove in Trelawny by the National Housing Trust for $180 million.

"We are not part of the decision-making process on individual personnel investment decisions and we don't want to micro manage the Jamaican economy. The management of the Jamaican authority is in the hands of the authorities, not the IMF. We are here to help, put in place the rules, the overarching policies," Marjtin told journalists last Friday at a press conference at the Ministry of Finance.

The senior IMF official's response came after he was asked to comment on the National Housing Trust's acquisition of the property and the ensuing fiery debate on the issue.

Extensive discussions

He said the IMF team had extensive discussions with the Government on a wide range of macroeconomic policies, as well as legislation and regulation to put the country on a path to higher and sustainable economic growth. "That is our focus," he insisted.

Marjtin, who made a presentation on the sixth scheduled staff review of Jamaica's performance under the programme, said the IMF targets were being met, adding that the challenge facing the country is to sustain the momentum.

The IMF mission chief said there is the need to pursue wide-ranging efforts to improve the country's business environment.

Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips reported that economic growth for the June quarter was 1.8 per cent, the fourth consecutive quarter of growth.

Phillips said based on the country's performance to date it is anticipated that the board of the IMF will complete the sixth review under the extended fund facility in December.

He said the IMF is scheduled to disburse approximately $68 million to Jamaica under the programme.