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IMF boss says no more harsh fiscal measures required for Jamaica

Published:Friday | June 27, 2014 | 1:07 PM

Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter

KINGSTON, Jamaica:

The managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, says there is no more need for Jamaica to impose harsh fiscal measures under its four-year extended fund facility.

Speaking a short while ago after a meeting with Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller at Jamaica House, Lagarde who is on a two-day visit here, said the country has made a very strong start to its programme having met all agreed benchmarks in the four quarterly reviews conducted.

"This is particularly true of the fiscal front. The authorities have to now stay the course. But not take more hardship methods of the fiscal front," said the IMF boss.

Lagarde also noted that Jamaica has the full support of the IMF.

"We stand ready to help in any way we can but it is up to the Jamaicans - the public and private sectors - working in close harmony to build a better future for this beautiful country," she said.

According to Lagarde, the IMF recognises that some of the adjustments have been painful in the short term with many Jamaicans facing wages freezes and higher food prices.

However, she said the IMF programme includes a floor for social spending and protection of the most vulnerable at all times and Prime Minister Simpson Miller is the "best advocate" for the vulnerable.

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