UWI moves to inf lu­ence IMF talks

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - Ro­mario Scott Gleaner Writer ro­mario.scott@glean­erjm.com

AS THE coun­try awaits an an­nounce­ment on the suc­ces­sor pro­gramme to the cur­rent ex­tended fund fa­cil­ity be­tween the Govern­ment and the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund (IMF), the Eco­nom­ics De­part­ment at the Univer­sity of the West Indies, Mona, is putting on the ta­ble sug­ges­tions on the way for­ward.

Pro­fes­sor David Ten­nant, the head of the de­part­ment, told The Gleaner that although Ja­maica has made sig­nif­i­cant strides in the ar­eas of fiscal re­form, fiscal dis­ci­pline and debt-man­age­ment re­form, the eco­nomic re­cov­ery process has a far way to go.

The de­part­ment head says he hopes the pol­i­cy­mak­ers will base their ul­ti­mate de­ci­sion on “sound eco­nomic the­ory and rig­or­ous em­pir­i­cal re­search”.

PROM­ISE TO BE PROAC­TIVE

He says the de­part­ment will be ful­fill­ing its prom­ise to be proac­tive in en­gag­ing stake­hold­ers on the is­sue.

“We will be hav­ing sev­eral fo­rums, the first one on Oc­to­ber 13 at 5 p.m. at our campus at the Med­i­cal Sci­ence Lec­ture Theatre One, where we will have ex­perts across the fi­nan­cial and eco­nomic spec­trum help­ing to guide the dis­cus­sion. It is the first time we are go­ing to have this and we hope to make a big im­pact.”

Co-chair­man of the Govern­ment’s Eco­nomic Pro­gramme Over­sight Com­mit­tee Richard Byles; for­mer head of the Plan­ning In­sti­tute of Ja­maica Dr Colin Bul­lock; UWI lec­turer in the De­part­ment of Eco­nom­ics Dr An­dré Haughton, and Con­stant Lonkeng Ngaouna, the res­i­dent rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the IMF in Ja­maica, are among the per­sons who will dis­cuss key is­sues sur­round­ing the pro­gramme.

A rep­re­sen­ta­tive from the de­part­ment said it ap­pears that both the Govern­ment and the IMF be­lieve it is in Ja­maica’s best in­ter­est to have more than a sur­veil­lance pro­gramme, but stressed that there was need for more dis­cus­sion on the is­sue.

Mean­while, as the Govern­ment and the IMF pon­der a suc­ces­sor pro­gramme, the eco­nom­ics de­part­ment said sev­eral options could be ex­plored.

“They can pro­vide tech­ni­cal re­views and re­form of busi­ness pro­cesses re­lat­ing to project ap­provals, [they can give] tech­ni­cal sup­port on public-sec­tor ex­pen­di­ture man­age­ment and public-sec­tor in­vest­ment de­ci­sions, and there can also be sup­port in de­vel­op­ing crit­i­cal projects with publicpri­vate part­ner­ships with in­ter­na­tional play­ers,” the rep­re­sen­ta­tive said.

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