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Mr Speaker, my contribution to this 2013/14 Sectoral Debate comes two days after June 30th, the date of Jamaica’s first quarterly test under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) Agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Mr. Speaker, although the final information is not yet available, being so close to the end of the month, we are confident of success because Jamaica has been faithful to the programme and the Government has led to ensure that the June 30th targets were met and that the country suffered no reversals.

Mr Speaker, it has not been easy but we are determined that this Agreement must not suffer the same fate as the previous Stand-By Agreement.

The economic programme on which Jamaica has embarked is supported by four main pillars: fiscal consolidation and debt sustainability to engender a stable and resilient macro-economy; monetary and financial system stability; structural reforms to strengthen productivity and competitiveness and strengthened social stability to protect the most vulnerable.

A quick look at Central Government operations shows the primary balance for the April-May period of FY2013/14 amounted to $7.7 billion, which was $2.4 billion (44.3%) better than the $5.3 billion budgeted. More specifically Mr. Speaker, collection of revenue is above target and expenditure for the two month period is slightly less than budgeted. The expenditure was $60.3 billion which was $0.7 billion less than budgeted.

The Net International Reserves (NIR) was boosted by the first draw-down following the IMF Board’s approval of Jamaica’s four-year Extended Fund Facility. Consequently, the NIR by end May 2013 increased by US$104.6 million to US$988.9million over the balance at end FY2012/13.

Mr. Speaker, the cooperation of the Jamaican people has been one of the significant reasons for this relatively good out-turn in the first quarter. I want to specifically thank the participants in the NDX – financial institutions, pension funds and other bond holders, including several public bodies.

This was a Jamaican effort

Inflation

The central bank forecast first quarter indicates that inflation will remain within a range of 2 – 3% for the June 2013 quarter as projected and that the target for the fiscal year of between 7.5 to 9.5% remains on track.

We must remain steadfast and stay the course to transform the Jamaican economy. To that objective Mr. Speaker, this Portia Simpson Miller led Administration is resolute…READ MORE

Download Contribution to the 2013/2014 Sectoral Debate by Minister, the Hon. Horace Dalley