KINGSTON, Jamaica - Opposition Spokesman on Finance, Planning, Growth and Economic Development Audley Shaw last night said Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller failed to address the most critical issues facing the nation in her national broadcast.
Shaw said Simpson Miller failed to address the crisis of a rapid deterioration in the economy with rising prices for basic food items and other commodities, devaluation of the Jamaican dollar, the emergence of a black market for foreign exchange, slippage in the Net International Reserves, and four consecutive quarters of negative growth.
He said she provided no new information concerning the timeframe for securing a new agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which is a key factor in restoring confidence in the economy, and that this silence on the IMF issue is disturbing as the opposition had called on the government to state categorically the details and timetable of prior action requirements of the IMF in order for Jamaica to secure a new agreement.
Shaw noted that the prime minister instead ignored these major issues and repeated projects that had already been announced in the 2012/2013 budget and the sectoral debates of last year.
Shaw said the prime minister’s presentation was disappointing to critical stakeholders in the economy, including investors and small business owners who have lost confidence, as well as consumers who are suffering daily from sharp and punishing increases in the cost of living.