JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has appointed one of its top advisors, Dr. Uma Ramakrishnan, as its new Mission Chief for Jamaica.
  • Dr. Ramakrishnan, who served in a similar capacity in El Salvador, prior to her assignment to Jamaica, takes over from Dr. Jan Kees Martijn.
  • The new Chief, who has worked in several capacities with the IMF since joining the institution in 1998, undertook her first engagement in Jamaica, overseeing the country’s eighth quarterly programme review, between May 4 and 13, when the Mission Team visited.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has appointed one of its top advisors, Dr. Uma Ramakrishnan, as its new Mission Chief for Jamaica.

Dr. Ramakrishnan, who served in a similar capacity in El Salvador, prior to her assignment to Jamaica, takes over from Dr. Jan Kees Martijn, who was the first Mission Chief under the country’s current four-year US$932 million IMF Extended Fund Facility (EFF), which commenced in May 2013.

The new Chief, who has worked in several capacities with the IMF since joining the institution in 1998, undertook her first engagement in Jamaica, overseeing the country’s eighth quarterly programme review, between May 4 and 13, when the Mission Team visited.

Dr. Ramakrishnan, who addressed the local media for the first time on Tuesday, May 12, during briefing at the Ministry of Finance and Panning in Kingston to outline the review outcome, indicated that Jamaica has fulfilled all quantitative programme targets for the review period, January to March 2015, but for the 7.5 per cent primary budgetary surplus target, a key benchmark under the EFF, for fiscal year 2014/15.

Set a target of $121.3 billion for the end of March 2015, Jamaica registered $117.2 billion, a shortfall of $4.1 billion.

This has been attributed to lower than projected revenue inflows for the period, reflective of the impact of drought, among other factors.

However, Dr. Ramakrishnan described this as a “minor deviation”, which is not a worrying concern for the IMF, and should not affect Jamaica’s programme.

She advised that the IMF Executive Board is “tentatively” scheduled to deliberate on the Mission Team’s review, in June, with Jamaica being on course for further drawdown totalling approximately US$40 million (SDR 28.32 million).

“What is really critical for us (is maintaining) the central focus of the programme, which is the Government’s commitment to achieving the 7.5 per cent primary surplus for the year,” she noted.

The IMF Mission Chief said once the “critical” programme goals remain intact, “which, we think, is the case for Jamaica, we have routine procedures that we follow to go ahead with the completion of the review without delay (and) on time, to keep things on schedule and on track.”

In welcoming Dr. Ramakrishnan, Finance and Planning Minister, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips,  reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to maintaining a high primary surplus target, noting that “Jamaica has achieved the 7.5 per cent of GDP out-turn…since the inception of the programme.”

In conveying the administration’s gratitude for Dr. Martijn’s inputs in the programme’s development and implementation over the past three years, Dr. Phillips noted that he has been “a very forthright, welcoming, and…collaborative partner in this venture to steer the programme of economic reform through difficult times.”

“We (came) to welcome his advice, his suggestions, (and) his reviews as we have gone forward with this programme,…which has begun to have results,” the Minister added.

Dr. Martijn advised that he is awaiting details of his next assignment from IMF headquarters, in the United States capital, Washington, D.C.