Government Remains Committed to Maintaining Fiscal Responsibility

Photo: Yhomo Hutchinson Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness (second right), addresses a press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister on March 3 to close out the visit of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Mission team to review Jamaica’s performance under the Precautionary Stand-By Agreement for the period ending December 31, 2016. Others (from left) are Governor of the Bank of Jamaica, Brian Wynter; IMF Mission Chief, Dr. Uma Ramakrishnan; and Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw.

Story Highlights

  • Even as the country sees sustained improvements in macroeconomic indicators, the Government remains committed to maintaining the fiscal responsibility necessary to bring down the high levels of debt.
  • Prime Minster, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, in an address at a press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister on March 3, said the debt fundamentals are a priority for his Administration.
  • He stressed that Jamaica still has to meet a primary budget surplus of seven per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), which is the main anchor to achieving the Government’s goal of reducing debt to 60 per cent of GDP by 2025.

Even as the country sees sustained improvements in macroeconomic indicators, the Government remains committed to maintaining the fiscal responsibility necessary to bring down the high levels of debt.

Prime Minster, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, in an address at a press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister on March 3, said the debt fundamentals are a priority for his Administration.

The press conference concludes the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Mission team’s two-week visit to review the Precautionary Stand-By Arrangement (PSBA) programme with Jamaica for the period ending December 31, 2016.

“The fundamentals of our economy, while it is changing, while there is great optimism, while we are seeing the signs that things are improving and are seeing growth for several consecutive quarters, we are still a high-debt economy. That fundamental has not changed,” he said.

He stressed that Jamaica still has to meet a primary budget surplus of seven per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), which is the main anchor to achieving the Government’s goal of reducing debt to 60 per cent of GDP by 2025.

Mr. Holness said the PSBA, signed in November last year, includes measures towards achieving this goal, as did the previous Special Extended Fund Facility.

“This is a good programme, but it also requires that Jamaica takes greater responsibility for the management of its own affairs and for its own destiny. We want the nation to have a sense that there are still challenging times ahead and that the Government is committed to maintaining fiscal discipline and good policy management of the country’s affairs,” the Prime Minister said.

Mr. Holness noted that the Government will be focusing on its growth policy to bring down the country’s debt.

This will be achieved through good fiscal management, including managing waste, eliminating corruption and implementing good policy decisions for the use of public funds, as well as through the proper management of expenditure.

The Prime Minister said the transition from a system of direct to indirect taxation, and the overall transformation of tax policy are also key.

“We are not relying on taxation primarily, in terms of (increasing it), but in terms of a deeper transformation of taxation to support economic growth, secure fiscal revenues and, by extension, give us a more stable platform on which to bring down the trajectory of debt,” Mr. Holness said.

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