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  • Finance Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw, says the Government is committed to maintaining measures implemented under the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Extended Fund Facility (EFF), after the agreement ends in December.
  • Mr. Shaw said the intention is to continue reforms under the programme with a focus on maintaining fiscal discipline, while achieving equitable growth and the strengthening of the social safety net.
  • In 2013, Jamaica signed a US$932.3-million four-year EFF agreement with the IMF to support a comprehensive economic reform agenda for the country.

Finance Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw, says the Government is committed to maintaining measures implemented under the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Extended Fund Facility (EFF), after the agreement ends in December.

“I want to make it absolutely clear that this Government is not hesitant whatsoever to continue some form of engagement and monitoring with the IMF (after the programme expires),” the Minister emphasised.

The Minister was addressing the annual economic forum of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) and the Jamaica Money Market Brokers (JMMB) Group, at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on July 12.

Mr. Shaw said the intention is to continue reforms under the programme with a focus on maintaining fiscal discipline, while achieving equitable growth and the strengthening of the social safety net.

He further stressed that the administration “intends to operate in a transparent manner and to expend our funds and manage the budget in a transparent and predictable fashion and that is why we have no problem whatsoever in a continuing relationship with the IMF.”

The Minister said the Government will also seek to engage the IMF in its economic programme and policy formulations after the EFF expires.

He noted that discussions have also commenced between the Government and the IMF teams on developing a staff-monitored programme.

“This will be somewhat different from the current EFF. This successor programme will be instrumental in building on the achievements already made and tackling the challenge of achieving sustainable economic growth with fiscal consolidation and debt reduction,” he said.

Mr. Shaw pointed out that beyond the “IMF surveillance”, the Government will be “aggressive” in ensuring that there is a balance between maintaining fiscal discipline and economic growth.

“A singular approach focused on austerity cannot ensure that we achieve the growth necessary to attain lasting prosperity for the people. We intend to maintain a stable macroeconomic environment conducive to growth, led by the private sector,” he said.

The Minister emphasised that the Government will continue to take necessary and bold steps to reform the economy, while protecting the value of the domestic currency, keeping inflation low and ensuring funding for critical safety-net programmes.

Mr. Shaw welcomed the forum, noting that the theme, ‘Developing Beyond the IMF’, is timely, as it provides the opportunity for the sharing of different policy perspectives on the medium- and long-term development of the Jamaican economy beyond the expiry of the current IMF programme.

In 2013, Jamaica signed a US$932.3-million four-year EFF agreement with the IMF to support a comprehensive economic reform agenda for the country.

On June 17 this year, the IMF completed the combined 11th and 12th reviews under the programme. The completion of the reviews enabled the disbursement of approximately US$80 million, bringing the total disbursements under the arrangement so far to US$748 million.

There are three more quarterly reviews remaining of the 15 reviews under the four-year programme, with the last formal review to be undertaken in March 2017.