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Jamaica’s PM assures Parliament that dollar will stabilize, soon

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica’s Prime Minister Bruce Golding has assured the House of Representatives that stability will return to the foreign exchange market, soon.

Mr. Golding said that the Ministry of Finance and Planning and the Bank of Jamaica(BoJ), were doing everything possible to speed up the process.

He gave the assurance during the monthly Prime Minister’s Question Time, a new feature of Parliament introduced by his administration last year, during which he answers questions from the Opposition.

Opposition MP, Ronald Thwaites(Central Kingston), asked what measures the government proposed to take to halt the slide of the Jamaican dollar.

“What I will tell you is that, the Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Jamaica are doing everything possible to ensure that we can stabilize the market,” the Prime Minister said.

“The Governor of the Bank, I know, had discussions yesterday (Monday) with an important group within the market. I know that he had another meeting this morning with, perhaps, the next most important group in the market. Some understandings have been arrived at, some assurances have been given because, in this market situation, it requires the appropriate policy leadership, and it also requires responsible participation on the part of those who have to access that market and who are dominant players in the market,” he explained.

“I am satisfied that steps are being taken to achieve that accord, and with the other efforts that I referred to, some of which are still to be determined, we expect that we will be able to see some respite in the kind of volatility we have witnessed in recent times, and the market should be able to return to stability within the reasonably near future,” he added.

He said that while the government was meeting a number of challenges, it was taking important initiatives to try to address the current pressure on the exchange rate.

Among these initiatives is a special US$100 million line-of-credit being provided by the Chinese government, to be routed through the National EXIM Bank, which will be signed at Jamaica House.

He said that he was having discussions with both Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Audley Shaw, and Governor of the BoJ, Derick Lattibeaudiere, on other initiatives which will be pursued to restore stability to the market, as early as is possible.

However, he noted that the majority of currencies all over the world were being “recalculated” in terms of their relationship with the US dollar.

“It is part of the global phenomena,” Mr. Golding said. “Nobody can yet speak with any authenticity, or authority, as to where in this trough of global decline, or global crisis, we are at this point. The most optimistic view is that we are likely to bottom our somewhere around the middle of the year. But, the period of recovery is likely to be slow,” he said.

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