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  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) Mission Chief to Jamaica, Jan kees Martijn, is reporting that Jamaica’s economic reform programme (ERP) is “on track and remains strong.”
  • He was speaking at a press briefing on Friday, November 14, at the Ministry of Finance, where the IMF mission team announced it has completed its sixth review of Jamaica’s Extended Fund Facility (EFF) with the IMF.
  • The Mission Chief, who led a team to Jamaica from November 5 to 14, told journalists that during the visit, the IMF mission team and Jamaican authorities “reached preliminary understanding on economic policies that will support growth and employment in the months and years ahead.”

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) Mission Chief to Jamaica, Jan kees Martijn, is reporting that Jamaica’s economic reform programme  (ERP) is “on track and remains strong.”

He was speaking at a press briefing on Friday, November 14, at the Ministry of Finance, where the IMF mission team announced it has completed its sixth review of Jamaica’s Extended Fund Facility (EFF) with the IMF.

The Mission Chief, who led a team to Jamaica from November 5 to 14, told journalists that during the visit, the IMF mission team and Jamaican authorities “reached preliminary understanding on economic policies that will support growth and employment in the months and years ahead.”

“Jamaica’s economic transformation programme offers a path to vibrant, sustained growth and job creation,” Mr. Martijn said.

He announced that all targets under the EFF through to the end of September were met and the economic outlook for the country is improving.

While noting the growth in the economy of about 1.8 per cent during the April to June quarter, Mr. Martijn says the recent drought is expected to impact the growth for the July to September quarter.

“The economy will pick up steadily, with growth projected at 2 per cent in 2015/16,” the Mission Chief said.

Meanwhile, Minister of Finance  and  Planning, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, said  the review of the September quarter will also be impacted by current health concerns, including the Chikungunya Virus.

However, he said there are signs of recovery in agricultural production, due to increased periods of rainfall across the island.

The Finance Minister said while the Government is currently crafting the 2015/16 budget, it will continue to focus on the objectives and targets of the economic reform programme, to facilitate more economic growth.

He noted that a sub-committee of the Cabinet has been established to coordinate the growth initiatives of the country.

In the meantime, Mr. Martijn said the critical challenge ahead for Jamaica is to “sustain the reform momentum and the strong fiscal position.”

This will include improvement in the business climate, strengthening of social protection and maintaining the primary surplus at 7.5 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Mr. Martjin emphasized that maintaining the primary surplus target is important to reduce the debt of the country, to promote investor confidence and to drive economic growth.

Just about US$68 million will be made available to Jamaica in December, when the IMF’s Executive Board consider and approve the sixth review of the EFF programme.

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