Finance and Planning Minister, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, says no consideration is being given by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to relaxing some of the stringent regulations applicable to the negotiations which the Government is currently pursuing with the agency. “The simple answer is no. The fact of the matter is, the essential purpose of the economic reform programme is to put us in a situation where we can, in the future, withstand shocks like this,” he said. The Minister was responding to a question posed by Opposition Spokesperson on Transport and Works, Karl Samuda, during Tuesday’s (Oct. 30) sitting of the House of Representatives. Dr. Phillips said, against the background of the IMF’s position, the Government will have to “re-adjust our expenditures to take account of the obvious human needs at this point in time, and rehabilitation, as best we can.” “There is really no more money in the pool. And all that would mean is that unless we are able to receive grants, then it would mean that we would either have to borrow more, which is not a feasible option in the circumstance, or we have to reorganise our expenditures,” the Finance Minister said. He added that Jamaica can take comfort in the fact that the “basic economic infrastructure of the country, the productive infrastructure, held up” to the impacts of Hurricane Sandy. An IMF Mission visited Jamaica from September 25 – October 5, to conduct negotiations over an economic programme that could be supported under an IMF financing arrangement. The Mission met with the Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller; Dr. Phillips; Bank of Jamaica (BoJ) Governor, Brian Wynter; Financial Secretary, Dr. Wesley Hughes; as well as other senior government officials, and representatives of the private sector and civil society.