Jamaican gov’t minister calls for regional economic stimulus plan

KINGSTON, Jamaica: Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Audley Shaw, has called on the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and other multilateral development partners to implement economic stimulus packages for small, heavily indebted and vulnerable economies in the Caribbean.

Speaking at the 50th anniversary conference of the IDB in Medellin, Colombia, Shaw said unlike developed countries that had provided substantial stimulus packages for their economies, nations like Jamaica cannot afford these initiatives and would have to look to the Multilateral Development Banks for specially funded stimulus packages to assist them to recovery.

He called on the G-20 countries, most of them represented at the conference, to give their full support for the replenishment of capital at the IDB in order to allow the Bank to play “a defining and unprecedented role in navigating the region out of this major economic crisis”.

Shaw emphasized the urgency to complete the process of capital replenishment, indicating that essential decisions must be taken in the next few months to allow the bank to respond expeditiously and with adequate resources.

He commended the IDB for its increased lending program to the region during 2008 and cited policy-based loans, as well as the US$300 million liquidity support loan which was recently signed with the government of Jamaica.

However, Shaw said some variation of the liquidity support program was needed in order to allow public sector entities to access some of these funds for investment in vital infrastructure and employment to replace jobs in the bauxite/alumina sector and downsized or closed companies. (JIS)

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