INTERNATIONAL RATING agency Standard & Poor’s has followed its November 2 downgrade of Jamaica’s long-term sovereign credit from CCC+ to CCC with parallel markdowns of the island’s credit card merchant voucher receivables, as well as the long-term corporate credit ratings for national carrier Air Jamaica and the National Commercial Bank of Jamaica (NCB).
With the Government coming under increasing pressure with both its fiscal accounts and balance of payments out of line, consumer confidence down and the country facing a winter of discontent, it is paramount that the US$1.2 billion standby arrangement with the IMF be agreed before the year is ended.
It is unfortunate that some of our more vocal analysts seem to regard our most recent downgrade as a government management issue.
It may take another 40 years before Jamaica’s productivity increases to the level of its Caribbean neighbours.
Don Wehby has called for major changes to be made to the operations of the Central Bank.