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Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw will, tomorrow (October 7), brief the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in Washington, on the level of damage that the country has sustained from Tropical Storm Nicole, and its likely impact on the Government’s fiscal programme.
Prime Minister, Hon. Bruce Golding told the House of Representatives, yesterday (October 5), that the discussions “will determine the extent to which the programme will be adjusted to take account of the expenditure that must be undertaken as a matter of urgency to effect repairs and reconstruction.”
He said Mr. Shaw will also seek to determine the extent to which additional funds can be secured from other multilateral partners or how programmed funds can be re-allocated to help in meeting these unplanned expenditures.
Mr. Golding pointed out that because many of the roads damaged were included in the Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme (JDIP), the Finance Minister would include in the discussions, the need to accommodate as many of these as possible, within the fiscal room which is being sought.
Responding to questions posed by Opposition Spokesman on Finance, Dr. Omar Davies, the Prime Minister explained that the issue that the IMF will be concerned with, is the amount of money that is spent and the impact on the fiscal programme.
He pointed out that while the JDIP was not built into the Stand By Agreement with the IMF, it was approved and authorised with the agreement of the Fund. “The issue is going to be how much we are going to expand the budget and by expanding the budget, how much we are going to expand the deficit, in order to accommodate the programme,” Mr. Golding said.
The Prime Minister said that the JDIP was initially planned for execution over four years, but because of the fiscal parameters set out in the IMF medium term programme, it had to be spread out over five years.
Meanwhile, Mr. Golding told the House that the Ministry of Transport and Works is conducting a review of those roads that have been scheduled for work under the JDIP this year, and those that have been identified preliminarily for next year. He said referencing will be done to the emergency works that are needed, “to see where they coincide and to see to what extent we can bring forward as much of that as possible, to help to address the immediate problem we have.”