IMF Warns Wage Negotiations Could Derail Economic Reform

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The International Monetary Fund, IMF, is again warning that protracted wage negotiations pose a risk to the country’s recent positive developments, and could put the budget in danger.

This, as the Police Federation issued a statement last evening, expressing dissatisfaction with the latest round of talks with the government

An IMF staff team, led by Dr. Uma Ramakrishnan, has been in Jamaica this week, taking stock of the country’s Economic Reform Programme. The team leaves the island today.

Dr. Ramakrishnan says the ongoing negotiations with the unsettled groups pose risks to the country’s positive picture, as it creates budgetary uncertainty. She says this could weigh against efforts to reallocate resources away from the wage bill and towards priority spending areas such as crime, social protection and disaster resilience.

The IMF Mission Chief adds that more fundamental reforms to the compensation framework for public sector employees, and a streamlining of government functions, will be necessary to sustainably reduce the wage bill.

Meanwhile, Dr. Ramakrishnan is also taking note of positive developments in the economy. These include the record low unemployment rate, inflation returning to the targeted range, buoyancy in tax revenues, and lower global oil prices.

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