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Gov't moving to address sticking points in IMF negotiations - PM

Published:Sunday | October 21, 2012 | 6:25 PM

The Portia Simpson Miller administration says it is moving decisively to address key areas that will impact the country’s agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is to be implemented in the coming weeks.

According to the prime minister, a special programme is being ushered in to drive the process. This was one of two items discussed during cabinet’s two-day retreat on October 18 and 19.

In a statement this afternoon, Prime Minister Simpson Miller said the key areas include: wage negotiations with the public sector unions; action on tax waivers; and efforts to define an acceptable time frame for achieving the desired debt ratio.

The country’s debt is about 140 percent of gross domestic product.

The prime minister says while she understands the public’s concerns over the speed of the negotiations, the government is committed to completing a negotiation that will be in the best interest of the country. She says to achieve this, the government has had to engage in hard bargaining with the IMF.

Simpson Miller reiterated that the multilateral agency has accepted the country’s medium term economic programme as a starting point for negotiations, and that the IMF also agreed on the main problems facing the country.