Jamaica On Track To Pass Next IMF Test – Davies
Minister of Transport, Works and Housing, Dr Omar Davies, said the country is on track to pass the next International Monetary Fund (IMF) test, which is scheduled for this month.
Speaking in New York last week at a Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS) Foundation-sponsored public forum on major infrastructure projects, Davies explained that Jamaica passed the IMF test in June, under the current, extended fund facility (EFF) and things are looking good for the September test.
The minister further stressed that the specific objective of the IMF agreement is to bring down the country’s highly unsustainable debt to GDP ratio.
“It (the current IMF agreement) will not facilitate growth. We, therefore, have to identify ways to use infrastructure as a development catalyst,” said Davies, who was updating Jamaicans and business interests in New York on national development initiatives, including investment opportunities.
Davies, whose presentation preceded those of Professor Gordon Shirley, president/CEO, Port Authority of Jamaica, and Ivan Anderson, managing director, National Road Operating and Construction Company, said that the logistics hub and the additional stages of the Highway 2000 project were prime opportunities for investment from the diaspora.
He told the audience that the Government was hoping to have the next phase of the high-speed road network completed at the start of 2016. When done, this portion of the Highway 2000 would take commuters from Kingston to Ocho Rios in 45 minutes, less than half the time it now takes.
Davies outlined that the construction WOULD be done in three stages: from Ferry to Linstead, then Linstead to Moneague and Moneague to Ocho Rios.
Earl Jarrett, general manager of JNBS, who doubled as chairman/moderator of the forum, offered that now is the time for Jamaica and Jamaicans to address the problem of low, persistent, economic growth. He blamed the limited or no economic growth of the last fifty years on “bad public management”.
Warning of possible contraction of the local economy, caused by the aggressive fiscal programs being implemented as part of the IMF agreement. Jarrett praised the forums for providing over the years, a context in which diaspora Jamaicans can participate in the dialogue on the economic future of the island.