Speaking at the final mission review press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister, prime minister Holness said “I believe that we have learnt our lessons, I believe that we have internalised a culture of fiscal responsibility and I believe that Government’ will be strong enough to face the pressures that will come as a result of Jamaica’s completion of the IMF agreement.”
He said the lessons learnt from the tests by the IMF should not only be limited to economic matters. “It is in some ways unfortunate that consensus only came because of crisis but that is oftentimes a good starting point because in crisis there is opportunity and that Jamaica took the opportunity of crisis to unite around this concept of fiscal responsibility it is good for us, we are now reaping the benefit of that,” stated Prime Minister Holness.
In that regard, Prime Minister Holness said while this is a milestone achievement for Jamaica it is not the end of its fiscal responsibility.
“The real test after this with the IMF out of the room in some ways is whether or not we can maintain and carry through the fiscal discipline that we have committed to and successfully committed to over the last ten years. My answer to that is yes we can and we will because over the last ten years of IMF, ten years of IMF programmes, I believe that the culture of fiscal responsibility has now become institutionalized in the Ministry of Finance and generally throughout the Government, I also believe that the political class of the country is on both sides committed to fiscal responsibility,” asserted Holness,
He reiterated the importance of the moment noting that the successful completion of the IMF engagement is a major achievement in Jamaica’s political economy and development.
“The celebration today is that we have worked consciously, deliberately, instrumentally, we’ve worked with transparency, we’ve worked diligently to ensure that we meet all the targets that we set for ourselves,” Holness observed.
The country entered into a three-year Precautionary Standby Agreement with the IMF which began in 2016 and prior to that the Extended Fund Facility.
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