(CMR) Former Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, has praised Jamaica for the “remarkable” accomplishments under its financial arrangements with the Fund, which have now concluded.
Jamaican Prime Minister, Andrew Holiness shared the good news on his social media page recently where he stated:
Today marks the successful completion of Jamaica’s financial engagement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This is a major milestone achievement for Jamaica as we continue to make a concerted effort to improve our economy and society.
This was a historic agreement which witnessed Jamaica taking responsibility for its economic choices and doing so in a collaborative environment with stakeholders which saw the formation of the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC) and the Public Sector Transformation Oversight Committee (PSTOC) among others.
As we end our formal engagement with the IMF, I want to acknowledge Madame Christine Lagarde, former Managing Director of the IMF for the encouraging and insightful message.
“Through two programmes, two different administrations with very strong commitment, you have managed to actually create jobs, to reduce the unemployment level to the lowest ever, you’ve reduced debt by 50 percentage points of gross domestic product (GDP), you’ve managed to stabilise inflation and you’ve managed to accumulate reserves,” she said in a recorded message.
The message was played during a press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister on Wednesday (September 18), as the IMF completes its sixth and final review mission under the Precautionary Stand-By Arrangement (SBA).
Ms. Lagarde said the achievements were not only due to good macroeconomic policies but due largely “to your own creativity, the way you have managed to embark everybody on that journey”.
“A lot has been achieved and more needs to be done. Transforming the public sector and encouraging private investments are tasks that are still there and that I am sure you can achieve as well,” she said.
Jamaica’s current programme with the IMF is scheduled to officially end in November. The country will, however, continue to benefit from technical assistance, and the Jamaica office will be maintained for an additional two years.
Jamaica’s latest relationship with the IMF started in 2013 when the country entered into a four-year US$932-million Extended Fund Facility (EFF).
This arrangement ended in 2016 when it was replaced by a US$1.6-billion Precautionary Stand-By Arrangement.
Outgoing International Monetary Fund (IMF) Mission Chief to Jamaica, Dr. Uma Ramakrishnan, says she is confident the country can manage its economic affairs, following the conclusion of IMF programme arrangements in November.
“Without a doubt, we are able to leave with full confidence that the institutional and policy framework is in place… and the policy credibility is there for Jamaica to carry on its own affairs,” she said.
The Mission Chief was responding to questions from journalists during a media round-table forum at the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service in Kingston, on September 20.
Dr. Ramakrishnan, who was appointed Mission Chief in 2015, described her tenure as “a very intense, productive, and constructive engagement” during which “I had the privilege to work across two Administrations”.
Dr. Ramakrishnan also noted that on each occasion of the team’s visits to either conduct programme reviews or undertake related activities, “we would always engage with the Opposition, whether it was under the previous or current Administration”.
Dr. Ramakrishnan said consequent on these engagements, “one thing I can take and walk away from this with great confidence is the commitment across the board to keep the policy credibility that Jamaica and the Jamaican people have worked so hard to achieve”.
She emphasized the importance of maintaining and enhancing the policy progress recorded over the last six years, initially under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) and the successor precautionary Stand-By Arrangement, in order to ensure that future generations, like the present, can benefit.
“For me, it has been an absolute joy, privilege and honor to have worked here for four years and three months,” Dr. Ramakrishnan said.
For his part, Finance and the Public Service Minister, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, who also spoke at the forum, described Dr. Ramakrishnan as “someone who has always had Jamaica’s best interest at heart”.