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Portia says IMF deal vital

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KINGSTON, Jamaica, Jan 11, CMC – Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller says it is “necessary” for Jamaica to secure an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as her Cabinet ended the first day of a three-day meeting here.
A brief statement issued at the end of the first day on Thursday said that Prime Minister Simpon Miller said the agreement with the IMF would “underpin the economic reform while securing the protection of the poor and the most vulnerable in the society.”
The main opposition Jamaica Labour Party has already called on the government to make public the details and timetable for the implementation of Prior Action Requirements of the IMF before an agreement can be reached.
JLP’s spokesman on Finance Audley Shaw said following the Finance Minister Dr. Peter Phillip recent admission that an agreement with the IMF cannot be reached until these prior action benchmarks are achieved; it is now a matter of urgent national importance that the minister publishes this information.
Phillips has blame on the JLP which when in government had started talks with the Washington-based financial institution for a new Stand By Agreement (SBA).
Phillips said the collapse of previous talks had resulted in the IMF insisting that, as much as possible, measures that were necessary for the conclusion of the deal must be implemented upfront.
The Jamaica government had earlier indicated that it wanted to reach an agreement with the IMF by the end of last year.
The statement said that the Cabinet had received an update from the IMF negotiating team and gave directions for transmission to the IMF staff in order to bring about a conclusion to the negotiations.
“Over the next two days Cabinet will continue to review and complete the growth and development agenda for the country for the 2013/2014 period and the medium term,” the statement said, noting that Prime Minister Simpson Miller had outlined her administration’s focus on growth, development and job creation.
“She emphasized that in order to achieve this over the medium term it is vital that we reduce the burden of the national debt,” the statement said.
 

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