Opposition Leader, Dr Peter Phillips, has confirmed that he was prepared to resign as Finance Minister in 2013 as the extreme difficulties the country was facing in negotiating an IMF deal were weighing heavily on him.
The former Finance Minister told Nationwide News today that he actually went to parliament with two speeches – his resignation and the budget.
This after he says lengthy talks with the IMF bore little fruit until a year later when the economic reform programme was approved.
Dr Phillips also recounts one of his many embarrassing talks with international stakeholders ahead of the country’s last IMF programme.
He was speaking today during an exclusive interview with Nationwide’s Neika Lewis at his West King’s House Road Offices in St. Andrew.
A Financial Times report dated February 17, 2020 chronicles Jamaica’s near economic crash following the economic recession of 2008.
It described Jamaica as an economic miracle under a very rigid IMF programme starting in 2013.
At that time, Dr Peter Phillips charted the country’s financial course as Finance Minister in the Portia Simpson Miller administration.
He says Jamaica was on the brink of collapse.
Dr Phillips recalls opening the 2013 budget debate with no idea if an IMF deal would be forthcoming.
He says he walked with the budget and his resignation letter.
Dr Phillips says much of what happened after that was nothing short of a miracle.
But Dr Phillips says many who gave Jamaica their commitment didn’t come through for the country.
The former Finance Minister says had he not been about the country’s business he’d not endure so many embarrassing negotiations.
Dr Phillips recalls how he journeyed to Japan to formally request help from a Japanese official who headed an IDB loam programme.
Dr. Phillips said the man disrespected him.
Meanwhile, Dr Phillips says he notes the Financial Times’ writer’s point that officials in Washington at the time, were enquiring in meetings whether Jamaica’s economy had crashed yet.
He says he’s aware that not many in the US were eager to help Jamaica.
Dr Phillips is happy those days are behind the country.
Dr Peter Phillips, Opposition Leader and Former Finance Minister