Wanted: Economic stimulus plan for Caribbean

KINGSTON, Jamaica, March 30, 2009 – Jamaica’s Minister of Finance and the Public Service Audley Shaw yesterday called on the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and other multilateral development partners, to put in place economic stimulus packages for small, heavily indebted, and highly vulnerable economies like those in the Caribbean.

In making the call at the 50th anniversary conference of the IDB, being held at the Plaza Mayor Convention Center in Medellin, Shaw said that unlike developed countries that had provided substantial stimulus packages for their economies, countries like Jamaica cannot afford these initiatives and would have to look to the Multilateral Development Banks (MDB’s) 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”.

Minister Shaw emphasised the urgency to complete the process of capital replenishment, indicating that the 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 programme to the region during last year, 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, the Finance Minister said that some variation of the liquidity support programme was needed in order to allow for public sector entities to urgently access some of these funds for investment in vital infrastructure and employment to replace jobs in the bauxite/alumina sector and down sized or closed companies. (JIS News Story)