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Gov’t is desperate, says Shaw

Saturday, August 18, 2012

OPPOSITION Spokesperson on Finance Audley Shaw wants Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips to focus on dealing expeditiously with the outstanding issues delaying a new International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreement.

Shaw, in a press release, also urged the minister to abandon “the inappropriate strategy of asking the US Government for political support in dealing with the IMF”.

Shaw, commenting on a recent offer by the US Government to give Jamaica technical assistance in negotiating a new IMF agreement, said that the minister was quoted in an online newspaper story on Monday that “Jamaica is mainly hoping that political support from the United States will help to encourage the IMF to move swiftly in approving a new programme”.

Said Shaw: “The minister’s statement revealed a new level of desperation, occasioned by his obvious inability to meet the requirements of the IMF on a timely basis, or his election promise so glibly made last year without being mindful of the critical issues surrounding the IMF standby agreement of the time.”

He said it also revealed the lack of economic direction and the political will of the Government to do what must be done.

“Instead of graciously accepting the offer of the US Government for technical assistance, we are now faced with the spectre of Jamaica asking the Government of the United States to, in effect, interfere with the decisionmaking process at the IMF,” Shaw said.

He described this as “unworthy of the minister”, and urged that he abandon that strategy and seek, instead, to fasttrack the implementation of critical benchmark requirements that could lead to a credible medium-term programme.

“While I was minister of finance I did not seek political favours from foreign governments, but kept our strategic partners, especially the United States Government, fully informed of Jamaica’s progress in achieving critical steps which led to a standby agreement with the IMF in 2010,” Shaw noted.

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