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Perspective: IMF Blasts Salary Allowances, Ja. W.I.

The mid year review of the current Standby Arrangement with the IMF which has revealed 
Dr. Uma Ramakrishnan says: The180 different allowances in the public sector are unacceptable. Scrap them to
a few.

The IMF area head said: ” The  current Standby Arrangement which underwent a very successful review. She praised Jamaica for its implementation of the programme. “Jamaica has met all its quantitative and qualitative benchmarks.  Also that sluggish GDP growth is a disappointment”  she added, inter alia. Jamaica has been the star performer of IMF borrowing nations of the world and is being held up as a shining example of success under the implementation phases of both our successive programmes.

Public Sector

She was concerned about our “delay in the wage negotiations with public sector workers and the possible impact this could have on our IMF programme going forward.”

The previous Extended Fund Facility (EFF) was a resounding success. We did so well by sticking to the letter and spirit of that agreement which has enabled us to qualify for this new borrowing relationship. You could call this a “promotion” into the big league.  In fact our reserves have been so healthy and  programme implementation so strong, that we almost do not need to be in a borrowing relationship any longer with the IMF.  This new Standby Facility we entered into recently is like an insurance policy …. in place if needed.


Former Finance Minister Audley Shaw has repeatedly made the point about this “insurance policy” as he was the one who has described it as thus.


To achieve targets there has to be discipline. For example asking for excessively high wage raises is certainly not the way to go. There is a wage to GDP ratio agreed on with the IMF of 9 percent of GDP.  This target has to be met.


The previous PNP led Portia Simpson Miller administration along with Finance Minister Dr. Peter Phillips agreed to this but failed to honour same. “They kept kicking the proverbial can” down the road as it relates to the 9 percent target of wage to GDP.

Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie is Senior International Correspondent & Photojournalist for Vision Newspaper Canada.

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