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Gov't signs off on IMF measures

Published: Monday January 14, 2013 | 12:18 pm with audio | Comments 0
Finance Minister Dr. Peter Philips - File.
Finance Minister Dr. Peter Philips - File.

Monique Grange, Assistant News Editor
The Gleaner/Power 106 News Centre

Finance Minister Dr. Peter Philips says the Cabinet has signed off on measures aimed at bringing the discussions with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to an end.

While not going into the details, the finance Minister disclosed that a programme was unanimously agreed on to reduce the country’s debt stock.

The finance minister also disclosed that the country’s primary surplus will increase from 6.3 to 7.5 per cent of Gross Domestic Product for the next fiscal year.

The debt stock now stands at $1.7 trillion.

Dr. Philips also hinted at new tax measures and a wage restraint in the public sector.

He said the government’s technical team is now in the final stages of discussion with the IMF as both parties seek to finalise a deal.

He was speaking at a press conference which is now underway at Jamaica House.

The finance minister said a full report will be provided once the deal is finalized, as he does not see it fit to disclose the intimate details of the deal at this point.

He also sought to assure that the government is working to finalise a deal that is in the best interest of Jamaica.

The finance minister also noted that while sacrifices will have to be made, the most vulnerable will be protected.

Meanwhile, Financial Analyst Ralston Hyman said the Portia Simpson Miller led administration took too long to update the public on matters relating to its negotiations with the IMF.

Hyman believes the global and local financial markets have already responded to the lack of information.

He said the government should have provided an update on IMF negotiations immediately after the Cabinet Retreat and not two days after.

He reiterates that the lack of information by the government has influenced the continued devaluation of the Jamaican dollar.

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Finance Minister Dr. Peter Philip.
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