The first tranche of US$207 million from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is expected to be deposited into the Jamaican account on Friday, May 3.
Confirmation came from Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, who addressed a post budget news conference on Friday morning, at Jamaica House, where she reiterated that US$90 million will be provided for budgetary support. This sum will be deposited directly to the Ministry of Finance.
Mrs. Simpson Miller noted that the Government’s growth and development agenda, which is underpinned by the four-year Extended Fund Facility with the IMF, is aimed at creating jobs and achieving sustainable improvement in the lives of all Jamaicans.
She pointed out that many of the project initiatives announced by Government, “by their very nature and given their scale and scope,” cannot be completed overnight. She added however, that a start has been made.
“These initiatives, which we are fast-tracking, will create thousands of jobs and opportunities for Jamaican businesses. They will have a positive impact on economic growth and national development,” Mrs. Simpson Miller said.
Mrs. Simpson Miller emphasized that fixing the economy will come with challenges, pointing out that, “we can overcome those challenges with the right mix of policies and programmes, coupled with steely determination and perseverance.”
She also affirmed that the government is committed to fulfilling its obligations under the IMF Agreement.
In the meantime, Finance and Planning Minister, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, said that the government will be trying to overshoot the growth targets that have been conservatively set under the agreement.
“The mission of the administration, now that we have concluded this phase of the negotiations, is to try to augment the positive growth side over and above those expectations,” Dr. Phillips said.
He reiterated that the IMF programme is difficult but necessary.
“We can either, as a country, talk ourselves into the depths of despondency and hopelessness or we can decide, as thousands of Jamaicans do every day in the face of difficulties and hardships, to get up and move with hope, with expectations, with confidence and faith in the Almighty, that we will in fact achieve the objectives set.
“We owe ourselves and we owe future generations, no less,” Dr. Phillips said.
By Andrea Braham, JIS Reporter