“I think that, the current Government has been wise to work hard to abide by the IMF provisions. That’s not been easy but I think that’s been the right thing to do,” he said.
He was responding to a question from President-Elect of the University of the West Indies’ Guild of Students, Davian Tucker, regarding debt write-offs for Jamaica, during a Town Hall meeting held yesterday (April 9), at the Mona Campus.
Mr. Obama informed that during bi-lateral discussions with Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller earlier in the day, focus was placed on the importance of growth in the economy even under the austerity measures.
“The best way for a country to reduce its debt is to grow really fast and generate more income,” he pointed out.
“That will require development plans and approaches that are productive, but which also require some short-term sacrifice,” he added.
The President said Jamaica should ensure that the Government sticks to its targets.
“I think the question that the people of Jamaica, just like the people of the United States and everywhere else should be asking is, ‘If the Government is spending money right now, is it on something that is going to help create long-term growth and help people succeed’. If the answer is no, you shouldn’t spend that money,” Mr. Obama asserted.
“Spending money for the same of just spending money is not the formula for success, but if the money is being spent on early childhood education, infrastructure, research, building skills for workers, those are good investments,” he continued.
Turning to the matter of foreign investments, President Obama said the people of Jamaica should be concerned about the long-term benefits of the investments being made in the country.
He said it is important for international investors to accommodate the interest of countries, so that the countries can succeed.