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Finance and Planning Minister, Dr. the Hon Peter Phillips, is reassuring the country of the World and Inter-American Development Banks’ commitment of “substantial” resources to finance Jamaica’s economic reform programme.

The institutions’ provision of grant and loan support was contingent on the administration securing an Extended Fund Facility (EFF) agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which was achieved on May 1.

On that date, the IMF Executive Board approved the US$932.3 million four-year EFF.

Responding to questions raised regarding reported “skepticism” about the government’s ability to implement the programme, during a media briefing at the Ministry’s National Heroes Circle offices in Kingston, on May 21, Dr. Phillips said that it is “not a surprise” that the global community is observing, with keen interest, the “seriousness of purpose and resolve” in the programme’s implementation.

This, he pointed out, is based on the fact that the programme is challenging, noting however, that “we have demonstrated, as a country, the commitment to the programme and the reform effort.”

“I think it is also worth pointing (out) that whatever the apprehensions that may exist in various sectors of the global financial community, including the development banks, that both the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank committed, with the approval of their Boards, substantial resources to the Jamaican programme,” he added.

Against this background, Dr. Phillips said it is incumbent on the nation to “fulfill our obligations” as a precursor to being able to secure, “not only from those institutions, but from the private markets and other institutions (and) other partners, a long term commitment to Jamaica’s economic transformation.”

Head of the IMF Mission Team, which piloted negotiations for the EFF, Jan Kees Martijn, who was at the media briefing, also gave the assurance that the collaboration among the government, IMF, World Bank and IDB is “very good,” adding that this is “critical” for the economic programme’s implementation.

“Both the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank are offering very important support to the programme’s implementation, both in terms of financing (and) in terms of technical assistance advice. I think that a partnership is in place and that is what is critical for this programme to become a success,” Mr. Martijn said.

The IMF Mission Team Head was in Jamaica over the past week, along with other members of the delegation, for discussions with the government on the progress of the economic reform programme’s implementation.

CONTACT: DOUGLAS McINTOSH