Statement by IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn at the Conclusion of his Visit to Jamaica

December 10, 2008

Press Release No. 08/315

Mr. Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), issued the following statement today in Kingston at the conclusion of his visit to Jamaica:

"It has been a pleasure to visit Jamaica as a part of my first official visit to countries in the Caribbean and Central America. My trip takes place in the context of a very serious global financial crisis, which requires firm and comprehensive action by all our countries as well as close policy coordination between them.

"I have had the privilege to meet His Excellency Prime Minister Bruce Golding, Bank of Jamaica Governor Derick Latibeaudiere, and Hon. Ministers Audley Shaw and Don Wehby of the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service. Our discussions focused on Jamaica's economic policy priorities at this difficult time. We agreed on the need for measures to minimize the social impact of the global financial crisis, while at the same time reducing the high public debt, which is a major cause of slow economic growth.

"We fully support the authorities' timetable for achieving a balanced fiscal budget over the medium term, which is one key ingredient toward that goal. The authorities' intention to rationalize public entities while moving forward with reforms to include these in the budget is a key initiative that will add credibility to budget and public debt reduction targets. Looking forward, the constraints imposed by the large public debt indicate that budget slippages should be minimized.

"On the monetary policy front, the successive interest rate increases observed this year, seeking to stabilize foreign exchange markets and to reduce inflation expectations, have been timely and appropriate. Developing a framework for consolidated financial sector supervision should also be given a high priority, especially in terms of assessing aggregate vulnerabilities of banks and nonbank financial institutions..

"The Fund is deeply committed to continue working closely with Jamaica in whatever form the government feels is most appropriate. I am confident that strong signals from fiscal and monetary policies will allow Jamaica to weather well the current global economic crisis."


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