The Private Sector Organization of Jamaica, PSOJ, says it expects the Head of the International Monetary Fund, IMF, Christine Lagarde, to address the debate surrounding the continued devaluation of the Jamaican dollar.
The PSOJ says Ms. Lagarde’s visit to the country this Friday comes at a crucial stage of the economic reform programme the government has with the multilateral.
Its President, Chris Zacca, says small businesses and local manufacturers are feeling what he describes as the ‘pain of the adjustment’ under the IMF-programme.
Mr. Zacca says it’s unclear to the PSOJ whether the devaluation of the local currency has had the intended effect.
He admits some entities have benefited from the devaluation in the short-term.
In a statement today, the PSOJ says businesses are feeling the pain of the adjustment. It says the country still faces what it describes as ‘a steep uphill climb’.
Mr. Zacca says he wants to hear from Ms. Lagarde what’s the underlying thinking of the IMF about the pluses and minuses of devaluation for Jamaica.
The local currency is now trading at approximately 112 dollars to 1 US.
It’s devaluation has sparked renewed debate, with at least one financial analyst and member of the Economic Programme Oversight Committee, EPOC, Ralston Hyman, saying the strategy is not working.
Opposition Spokesman on Finance, Audley Shaw, has also criticized the policy, saying exports have fallen over the last year by about over 34-percent.
And, has warned consumers to expect more increases in food items because of what he describes as ‘the aggressive slide’ of the Jamaican dollar.
He’s said he intends to put these issues to Ms. Lagarde.
The PSOJ says it also wants to hear the IMF’s Managing Director address other issues.
These include: tax reform, the high cost of energy, and the need for the government to address ‘more assertively’, the culture of investment-unfriendly bureaucracy that impedes the business environment.