The Most Honourable Andrew Holness, ON, MP
IMF Press Briefing
November 17, 2017
We’ve been pleased to host Madame Lagarde in Jamaica for the past few days, this being her second visit to Jamaica. We’ve had the opportunity for frank and meaningful discussions. Our partnership with the fund is strong and has transcended administrations. Over time Jamaica is taking more ownership and responsibility for our economic reforms even while we continue to utilize the incredible technical assistance and support of the IMF.
Jamaica is making significant strides, macro-economic stability is entrenched; public debt is on a downward trajectory. The labour force is expanding and employment is increasing. Over fifty thousand jobs have been created in the last twelve months. Growth is occurring- although at rates that could be a little faster but we’re seeing growth nonetheless. Public finance is considered credible and monetary reforms are bearing fruit. This collectively represents material progress however much remains to be done. Public sector reform has started and the momentum needs to gather pace.
My government is built on partnership and we have brought additional stakeholders into the monitoring and reform efforts. Public sector reform will therefore also proceed within a spirit of partnership and stakeholder engagements. The reform will ensure greater efficiency in the public sector and allow a reorientation of public spending towards growth inducing activities including improving our national security environment.
I think it is important to emphasize the importance of country ownership and responsibility as we implement various institutional management mechanisms necessary for growth and development. Country ownership and responsibility means implementing policies not just to meet a target or to pass a review but also because they are central to our goal of economic independence. For example public sector transformation is key to the government becoming a facilitator and enabler of growth.
Reorienting the public sector to one that is dynamic, efficient and innovative bodes well for sustainable growth and for increasing the pace at which the private sector adds value to the economy.
True economic independence comes when we’ve ended poverty in Jamaica. The discussions with the IMF have not neglected the fact that poverty as measured by the 2015 Survey of Living Condition has increased. We’ve sought to mitigate the effects of increased poverty by increasing our social investment and broadening our social safety net and I want to assure Jamaicans that this government is committed to pursuing policies that will lift Jamaica out of poverty. Already we’re seeing results from our policies of job creation.
The changes we’re making are not easy, the journey will not always be smooth but if we remain committed, continue to hold hands as partners and stakeholders continue to talk to each other honestly and truthfully and keep our marbles in the ring, we can move Jamaica from poverty to prosperity.