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PM commits to responsible spending even after IMF agreement ends

Prime Minister Andrew Holness
 
He was speaking Wednesday at a wrap-up media briefing for the sixth and final review of the programme.
 
Mr. Holness said the government will be strong enough to resist the pressure to spend which will come now that the programme is over. 
 
"I am of that view that Jamaica's fiscal future is certain. That doesn't mean that there won't be people who will stand up in parliament and say, 'Well you have money now, so you can spend.' Let me very quickly say that is not how it will be done. And there are those who will say, 'Well, things have improved now, you can give more incentives because you want growth.' That will not be how it is done," he declared.  
 
Mr. Holness noted that the real test starts now, with the end of the IMF programme.
 
He said despite there being apprehension about whether the government will be able to maintain fiscal discipline, he is confident that "the political class of the country is, on both sides, committed to fiscal responsibility." 
 
The current IMF programme will officially end on November 8.
 
Address challenges 
 
Meanwhile, as Jamaica prepares to exit the current IMF programme, the multinational agency has said sustaining resilient and inclusive growth will require addressing deep-rooted societal challenges such as crime and governance.
 
It also said attention needs to be paid to access to finance, disaster preparedness and resilience, and providing greater social support for the vulnerable.
 
The IMF said Jamaica's sustained commitment to a home-grown economic reform programme has resulted in significant dividends for Jamaicans. 
 
It said unemployment is at an all-time low of 7.8 per cent, taxes have been reduced, business confidence is high, inflation and the external current account deficits are low, and the level of foreign currency reserves is comfortable at about US$3.5 billion.
 
However, the IMF said the short-term growth outlook is clouded by the pending 18 to 24 months closure of Alpart to facilitate investment upgrades.
 
 
 


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