Is Jamaica implementing the right IMF program ?

The PNP Government has been on record as saying they are doing better than the previous JLP administration, primarily due to the fact that we have passed more IMF test,  than what  happened under the last program.

The analyst have all been lining up behind the Minister saying, he has done a very good job of “staying the course and implementing the IMF program”.  The big question is ” are we implementing the correct program and how do we know if we are in fact implementing the correct program” ?

In meeting the various conditionalities of the IMF, what are the tangible effects that Jamaicans can expect to see in the very near future ?

I am in the energy business and if I were to say to a client ” do x ” , they expect to see at the end of that process some tangible benefit eg a reduction in the electrical consumption and a commensurate  reduction in cost $.

So the client has a very clear expectation and its very evident if those expectations are met on successful completion of the program I presented to them. If I were to give the wrong program, they could “pass” the implementation test, but still fail to see the tangible benefits from implementation of the program.

We hear talk of primary surplus target of 7.5%, Debt to GDP ratio etc, but apart from the theoretical or mathematical explanation from the analyst of what these means, what can we expect in real terms .

I don’t believe many Jamaicans know what can we expect to see at the end of this program. We have all been asked to stay the course, tighten our belts, work with the program for the long-term benefit and stabilization of the country, but heck, in real terms, what is in it for me. If I am to forego salary increases, pay more tax, cut expenses in every area so the program can be implemented, what can I expect to get and when can I expect to get this.

Now one analyst may say , well the program is designed to lay the platform for growth ie we must be the basics correct before we can move forward and for the first time in a long time we are doing that.

The obvious question therefore becomes, ” did we not have all the basics right in the 1960’s and the early 1970’s” ?

The fact is we did and we screwed it up, so what are we going to doing substantially different this time around, if we are successful in getting the basics correct once again ?

We are not a people who like to follow the rules, we do not like to be held accountable, we do not believe in following the rule of law and order, we want to do things my way and if I cannot get things done my way then I will take a paper to cabinet to change the rules so I can get things done my way.

Until the people of Jamaica take a decisive stand against politicians and the way they conduct business on the behalf of the people of this country, nothing will change and twenty years from now, we will be implementing a new IMF program designed to achieve the very same things, this one is intended to achieve.

Just to show how terrible we are, just look at th 381 MW project for a second.

Good intention, right framework put in place, oversight agency identified and is monitoring the process, yet we still have nothing and energy cost is still high and getting higher.

When we have passed all the IMF test and the IMF would have left Jamaica, do you think for a minute anything is going to get better?

If your answers is yes, I say keep dreaming.

If your answer is maybe, I say possible only under certain conditions

If your answer is no, I say, that is probably the most appropriate answers.

We have very little choice now, our back is against the wall and no one will lend us money without the IMF stamp of approval, so even if we were to stay the course and get the fundamentals correct, we do not believe in accountability and without the IMF looking over our shoulder we will be back at square one in no time.

There are no plans to lay on top of the foundation we say the IMF program is intended to achieve and without this Jamaica will rescind to its initial position, primarily because the people of the country DO NOT participate in the governance of the country and our analyst for the most part are NOT objective.

We have to become more involved and hold every single elected member to book, we cannot continue to allow people to breach the very clear rules and remains in office and the only time we can remove them is at the next elections.

We do not need the IMF for this, what we need is people who will focus less on the party they support and focus on the issue and allow the issue to guide our actions.

Sadly we may pass all the IMF test, but Jamaicans will see no benefits at the end of the program and our sacrifices will all be in vain expect for the few who would have had increased wealth during this period.

We had better wake up now!

In over 40 yrs and 16 different structural adjustment programs, each being designed for the situation at the time both locally and globally, how have things improved in the country.

Clearly it not the IMF program that will save Jamaica, instead it will be Jamaicans who no longer decides to be passive in the way we are governed, but become very active instead.

We will no longer ask out politicians what they are going to do if we elect them, no sir those were the old days.

We are instead going to say to the parties, these are the set of actions you will take and this is how it is supposed to be done and this is the result we expect at the end of the process, with specific milestones at varying points.

We will also propose to get rid of the STUPID bench thumping, hot air belching budget debate and replace that with what I call  ” Annual Performance Review” .

The Minister of finance would speak on the following.

  1. How did we perform relative to the performance targets set for the previous yr.
  2. Where were the shortfalls and why ?
  3. What plans are going to be put in place to ensure no further failures ?
  4. Revenue and expenditures for upcoming year.

In the sectoral ” Annual Performance Review”

Each portfolio minister would present his/ her scorecard

  1. How did we perform vs plans
  2. How much was spent vs planned expenditure
  3. Explanation of expenditure above budget
  4. Plans to address failures and short falls
  5. New plans.

This is how we are going to move this country forward.


3 Responses

  1. Very good analysis. This has been problem all along, what is the end game of all this sacrifices? For as long as I can remember we are told to tighten our belts for the good of the country but what has this brought us?

    The media and the various analysts have failed the country badly. Either they are commingling with the government or simply afraid to be objective but the discourse on this IMF deal has been abysmal.

    Until good governance trumps politicking we will not advance as a country. The politicization of the public service, the over-reaching of ministers in their respective ministries and the inherent corrupt nature of awarding contracts will strangle any hopes of the country getting better.

    • I have been telling people for a long time that the IMF programme is a fiscal programme and not a structural one. For example, pension reform must be broad based, but based on what I have been hearing the pension reform programme may solely be for the public sector. Furthermore very little is being done to make the public sector more efficient, what people don’t know is that the major goal of this programme is to reduce the debt to gdp ratio, this figure may be reduced but it does not mean that the debt has reduced. After the programme we will no be in a better condition, because the structural reform measures are not comprehensive enough

  2. One day after I wrote my piece , I see I am getting support from a US based Professor on economics.

    Very interesting indeed.

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