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JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Government is moving ahead with implementing reform measures
  • The Government to “unleash” the country’s competitiveness
  • Government to focus on public sector reform

The Government is moving ahead with implementing reform measures, even as it remains confident that Jamaica will pass its first quarterly performance review, which is currently being conducted by an International Monetary Fund (IMF) Mission Team.

“Overall, we have to change the economic fundamentals, investment environment, inefficiencies of the public sector and to create a new economic order within Jamaica,” Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, told JIS News in an interview on the agency’s ‘Issues and Answers’ Programme, on August 20.

The Finance Minister noted that one of the major tasks that remain for the Government is to “unleash” the country’s competitiveness.

“I believe, first of all, that tax reform is not just to deal with the inefficiencies of tax collection, or removing the opportunities for avoidance or evasion,  but most significant, to create an environment that encourages the investor,” Dr. Phillips said.

“We have some critical benchmarks for this year, but we are going to have to look at other things, such as tariff rate, our customs arrangements, because what you want is for somebody who wants to do business in Jamaica, not to say ‘my God look at what I have to do to go through customs and what I need to do to get approvals’,” he added.

The Minister explained that another area of focus for the Government will be the reform of the public sector, “particularly when it comes to doing business.”

Several components of the IMF programme have either been implemented or are currently being embarked on, in an effort to reduce Jamaica’s debt from the current 145 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), to 96 per cent by 2020.

These include: attainment of  a 7.5 per cent primary budgetary surplus target; implementation of a National Debt Exchange (NDX) programme; tax reform; and  public sector reform, restructuring of salaries to reduce ratio to GDP from 10.6 per cent, as at March 31, 2013, to nine per cent by 2015/16.