MIAMI – Jamaica’s Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Audley Shaw, signed a US$30 million (J$2.13 billion) policy-based loan (PBL) agreement with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), in Miami.
This loan is part of a proposed US$90 million loan program to enhance competitiveness in Jamaica in fiscal year 2008/2009.
The document was signed by President of the IDB, Luis Alberto Moreno and Mr. Shaw, who led a Jamaican delegation to the IDB’s annual meeting in Miami.
During the course of this fiscal year, the Government intends to sign two additional loan agreements with the IDB of US$30 million each, based on its commitment to effect reforms to transform education and improve fiscal management. This will represent a total of US$150 million in PBLs from the IDB.
Hon. Audley Shaw
Jamaica’s Minister of Finance and the Public Service
Mr. Shaw said he was satisfied that his deliberate policy of re-engaging with the IDB on a more intensive basis was already bearing fruit.
He called on the IDB to provide leadership in the region in developing responses to the energy crisis and the emerging crisis of food security.
While acknowledging the initiative of the IDB in launching the Sustainable Energy and Climate Change Initiative (SECCI), Mr. Shaw said that the Bank should aggressively support new investment in renewable energy among member states, bringing new technology and expertise in the process.
The Minister pointed out that a particular challenge was now being faced in the increasing cost of food as a result of the diversion of production from food into bio-fuels. He said that this poses a serious threat to achieving poverty reduction targets in Jamaica and the Caribbean region.
Mr. Shaw argued that the IDB investment policy should also be geared to loan funding with technology and expertise directed at assisting the smaller economies of the region with viable projects in alternative energy as well as expanding their agricultural sector to better cope with their food security needs.
The Minister was accompanied by Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, Anthony Johnson and Dr. Wesley Hughes, Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica. Also in attendance was Jamaica’s Consul General to Southern USA, Ricardo Allicock.