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Jamaica preparing for post-IMF era

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STRENGTHENING the macro-fiscal capacity of the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service and its agencies responsible for economic policymaking is among the strategies being pursued to continue the country’s economic growth agenda after arrangements with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) end.

Jamaica’s US$1.6-billion Precautionary Stand-By Arrangement (PSBA) with the IMF is slated to conclude in September 2019, and the country’s programme relationship with the fund could end at that time.

Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke said that in furtherance of this objective, two agencies affiliated with the IMF were engaged last year to help train 40 economists from the ministry, Statistical Institute of Jamaica, Planning Institute of Jamaica, and the Bank of Jamaica in macro-fiscal modelling and detailed forecasting.

The agencies are the Institute for Capacity Development and the Barbados-based Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centre.

“This deepening and strengthening of our macro-fiscal capacity is something that we intend to continue this year. It begins with being able to use and manipulate the complex models that forecast, given certain inputs, how an economy is likely to respond to certain policy adjustments,” he said.

Dr Clarke was speaking at the 14th regional Jamaica Stock Exchange Investments and Capital Markets Conference at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston, on Wednesday.

Another strategy being pursued in ensuring economic sustainability in the post-IMF era, is engagement of academia to ensure adequate training in public financial management at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

“We believe that as we strengthen public financial management in the educational curriculum, so that persons who work in Government and the private sector have the opportunity to learn in a formal environment, the best principals, it will be to the (country’s) advantage over the long term,” Dr Clarke said.

The finance minister applauded the Jamaica Stock Exchange for hosting the conference, which he said is “well-timed coming at the start of the year and right at the beginning of the budget season”.

Being held under the theme, ‘Expanding our Borders: Securing our Future’, the conference, from January 22 to 24, seeks to examine areas of growth, challenges and advancements that are shaping societies and world economies.

It is also looking at how economies and businesses can best manage such rapid changes and capitalise on opportunities for progress.

The three-day conference brings together world-class leaders and industry experts, who willingly shared their success and secrets and demystify complex topics into common language that business people and professionals from every sector can understand.

 

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