Tenure in Jamaica has been very rewarding — Outgoing IMF resident representative

Outgoing International Monetary Fund (IMF) Resident Representative, Dr Constant Lonkeng Ngouana, says his three-year tenure in Jamaica has been “very rewarding”.

(Photos: Donald De La Haye – JIS)

Dr Lonkeng Ngouana, whose stint ends on August 31, took up the Resident Representative post in July 2016 at the time of the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) and continued through the current precautionary Stand-By Arrangement (SBA). 

The IMF Representative points out that “talking with policymakers, farmers, private-sector representatives and students, and getting wide-ranging perspectives have been among the main highlights of my tenure”.

Outgoing International Monetary Fund (IMF) Resident Representative for Jamaica, Dr. Constant Lonkeng Ngouana (left), converses with Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Dr. Wayne Henry (second left), and Senior Director for the PIOJ’s Economic Planning, Research and Policy Logistics Division, James Stewart (second right), following the PIOJ’s quarterly briefing on August 26. At right is incoming IMF Resident Representative, Karim Youssef.

Dr Lonkeng Ngouana says the feedback from these interactions suggests that a significant number of Jamaicans appreciate the economic progress achieved over the last six and a half years.

“Jamaica has come too far to allow for any reversal on the progress made thus far”

Dr. Constant Lonkeng Ngouana, Outgoing International Monetary Fund (IMF) Resident Representative

He notes that while the country is “not out of the woods yet… the fact that the Jamaican people are plugged in and engaged in the policy discussions will contribute to safeguarding the sound economic policies being developed and instituted by the Government”. 

Meanwhile, Dr Lonkeng Ngouana remains confident in Jamaica’s ability to manage its economic affairs in the post-IMF era, following the conclusion of the current SBA in November.

The IMF Representative maintains that while growth is “not where we all want it to be”, Jamaica can, over time, achieve higher levels of sustainable inclusive growth through an aggressive structural reform agenda.

“We believe that if structural impediments relating to crime, weak resilience in agriculture, and private sector access to credit were to be resolved, or partially resolved, growth could be much higher in Jamaica,” he adds, noting that steps by the Government to address these are underway.

Dr Lonkeng Ngouana is encouraging persons at all levels to remain steadfast on the journey embarked on under the Economic Reform Programme.

He says the sacrifices made by all Jamaicans to turn the country’s economic fortunes around have been “far-reaching”, adding that “Jamaica has come too far to allow for any reversal on the progress made thus far”.

“We believe that if structural impediments… were to be resolved, or partially resolved, growth could be much higher in Jamaica”

Dr Constant Lonkeng Ngouana, Outgoing International Monetary Fund (IMF) Resident Representative

Dr Lonkeng Ngouana further reiterates that the Jamaican economy has undergone a remarkable transformation and turnaround, based on achievements recorded over the last six and half years under the IMF’s Extended Fund Facility and precautionary Stand-By Arrangement programmes.