Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke has declared that Jamaica must take a different approach this time round after the conclusion of the staff-monitored Stand-by Arrangement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“We have been here before. This time, however, the post-IMF era, has to be positively different,” Clarke said Wednesday at the labour market forum in Kingston.
See full text of his speech below:
My appointment as Minister of Finance comes after five years of continuous and successful implementation of economic reform programs with the IMF, across two political administrations, and eighteen months before the likely beginning of yet another Post-IMF era.
We have been here before. This time, however, the post-IMF era, has to be positively different.
In our program engagements with the IMF in the 1970s, the 1980s and the 1990s our exits turned out to be short-lived: we exited those programs only to return the following decade.
This period of IMF engagement, however, stands out as distinct from those prior periods. Jamaica has gained significantly from the steadfast implementation of fiscal, monetary and structural policy reforms across two consecutive administrations.
It has to be our ambition, therefore, that when we conclude with the IMF this time, we avoid reversal and instead manage our affairs in a thoughtful and disciplined way so that our exit from a programme relationship with the IMF is sustained over time with no need to return.
This must be our goal even as Jamaica, a member institution of the IMF, always retains the option to access the wealth of the IMF’s technical advice capacity over the course of time.
FRAMEWORK FOR POLICYMAKING AT THE MINISTRY OF FINANCE AND PUBLIC SERVICE
As we consider the journey ahead, therefore, what ought to guide economic policy making? After all, a variety of interests with sometimes-conflicting agendas seek to influence policy – sectoral interests, labour interests, capital interests and even generational interests.