KINGSTON, Jamaica - Jamaica could conclude a new agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) by year end, Finance and Planning Minister Dr Peter Phillips has said.
“We hope to take something to the (IMF) board before the end of the calendar year. There is a view that has developed that there is a delay of discussion with the Fund and there is nothing of the sort,” Phillips told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) today.
The Finance Minister, who is attending an IMF-sponsored, high-level forum on low growth and high debt in the Caribbean, said a negotiating mission from the Washington-based financial institution will arrive in Jamaica on September 25 until October 5.
He confirmed that despite a meeting on May 30 to review Jamaica's 2011 Article IV consultation, which, among other things, provides an insight into the issues that will be of concern to the IMF's board when it is asked to consider approving a successor programme to the aborted Stand-By Arrangement, no agreement had been reached regarding the terms or date.
“There were issues that we were in discussion with the Fund about, not to alter the terms of the findings, because we don’t have a dispute with them about that, but we want to make certain that based on uncertainties in the market that there we both agree, that is the Fund and ourselves, as to the timing in a way that does not complicate our negotiations or the market responses.
“So up to when we left Jamaica, there had not been an agreement as to the terms or the date of that publication,” he told CMC, adding “we are in continued discussions, but (It will be published) before the end of the year.
The former government resumed a borrowing relationship with the IMF in 2010 but was unable to meet several of the targets under the Stand-by Agreement (SBA) and in July this year, Phillips indicated that the Portia Simpson Miller government intended to renegotiate the US$1.47 billion agreement with the IMF which expired in May.
Phillips told CMC that there is need for the IMF to recognize the need for flexibility in its programmes of adjustment.
But he said overall, Caribbean countries appreciated the effort being made to look at specific effects of the global crisis on small states and to define a particular understanding of the structure of these economies, the implications for adjust programmes, consequential on the fact of small size.
“I think this represents an advance in the thinking of the Fund; they have already had a discussion in the Asia-Pacific region where there is another significant aggregation of small states and now on the Caribbean.