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Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Finance and Planning, Hon. Horace Dalley, says the Government is confident of passing the first quarterly test under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) Agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

He was speaking on Tuesday, July 2, in his contribution to the 2013/14 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives.

Mr. Dalley’s presentation comes two days after the June 30 date of Jamaica’s first quarterly test under the EFF.

While the results are not yet available, Mr. Dalley said the Government is certain of success “because Jamaica has been faithful to the programme and the Government has led to ensure that the June 30 targets were met and that the country suffered no reversals.”

Mr. Dalley noted that while “it has not been easy”, the Government is determined that this agreement must not “suffer the same fate as the previous Stand-By Agreement.”

He informed that 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.

In the meantime, Mr. Dalley said Central Government operations show that the primary balance for the April to May period of financial year 2013/14 amounted to $7.7 billion, which was $2.4 billion (44.3 per cent) better than the $5.3 billion budgeted.

“More specifically, 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,” he informed.

He said the Net International Reserves (NIR) were boosted by the first draw-down following the IMF Board’s approval of Jamaica’s four-year EFF. At the end of May 2013, the NIR was recorded at US$988.9 million, representing a US$104.6 million increase over the balance at the end of April.

“The co-operation 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 National Debt Exchange (NDX) – financial institutions, pension funds and other bond holders, including several public bodies. This was a Jamaican effort,” he stated.

Turning to the inflationary outturn, Mr. Dalley said the Central Bank indicates that this will remain within the forecasted range of two to three per cent for the June 2013 quarter, and that the target for the fiscal year of between 7.5 to 9.5 per cent, remains on track.

Contact: Chris Patterson