Benefits of Staying the Course

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Jamaica’s strict adherence to the IMF programme, is being credited for it’s ability to raise a record USD$2-billion on the international financial markets.

Supporters are now using this as justification for the strict conditions of the programme, including the primary surplus target of 7-and-a-half percent, which critics say is too burdensome.

Last week, five members of the US Congress petitioned President Barack Obama to urge the IMF to revisit the terms of Jamaica’s IMF programme.

The five want a relaxation of the primary surplus target, to provide fiscal space for the government to grow the economy.

But supporters of the programme are likely to use yesterday’s historic bond offering, to encourage the government to stay the course.

At a press conference in Washington DC yesterday, the IMF’s Communications Director, Gerry Rice, credited the programme for creating the conditions for the deal.
Managing Director at Oppenheimer Investment bank , Gregory Fisher, says the country’s discipline in implementing the programme, is manifested in the high investor interest in the bond.

Even the Finance Minister, Dr. Peter Phillips, despite supporting the petition by the Congressional leaders, has conceded that.

Dr. Phillips was speaking on Wednesday at the launch of the Revenue Appeals Division, where he again noted the level of debt reduction under the IMF programme.

That update on the pace of debt reduction, is likely to encourage further caution among analysts like the CEO of the PSOJ, Dennis Chung.