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Analyst lauds Golding's latest move

Published:Tuesday | January 12, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter

AN INTERNATIONAL financial analyst has lauded the Government for being bold in its decision to restructure the country's debt.

Gregory Fisher, managing director of Oppenheimer & Company's subsidiary, Atlanta International, told The Gleaner yesterday that Jamaica had no choice and it was commendable that Prime Minister Bruce Golding was undertaking the debt-management programme.

"There is going to be some pain here and there, but it is something that everybody in the financial community realises. They know that if it is not done, it would put at risk the International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreement and push the country further behind," Fisher said yesterday.

Government has indicated that a debt-management programme would be a critical plank of its medium-term economic programme. Prime Minister Golding is due to announce details of the programme in an address to the nation tomorrow.

Information Minister Daryl Vaz told The Gleaner on Sunday that the debt-management programme represented the most important policy decision since Independence.

Yesterday, Fisher said the proposed move, which seeks to lower interest rates, would be welcome by the capital market.

"Even if the global community sees it as a local restructuring, they would probably look at it as a favourable move. It shows that the Jamaican Government is serious about getting its debt under control," Fisher said.

He added that Jamaica should not concern itself with the capital market, but should pay attention to ensuring that it got the best possible and most workable deal with the IMF. This, Fisher said, would allow the country to approach other multilateral funds.

Fisher argued that if the IMF programme, as well as the debt-management initiative were properly handled, the confidence of investors could be won over.

"The global community is going to look at this as a step in the right direction - using aggressive austerity programmes to make sure that Jamaica attains growth and rids itself of debt," Fisher said.