A team of officials from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is scheduled to arrive in Jamaica this weekend for further negotiations with the government towards drafting a new agreement.
Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, informed that talks will commence on Monday (September 24) and the team will be in the island until October 5 for what is expected to be the "concluding round" of discussions.
Dr. Phillips, who was speaking at Wednesday's (September 19) Jamaica House press briefing held at the Office of the Prime Minister, said the government has "every intention (of) doing all that it can" to ensure that this is the final round of talks with the international agency.
The government is hoping to secure an agreement, which may extend beyond three years, as it seeks assistance to craft a macroeconomic programme to contain the country’s debt problem.
Meanwhile, Dr. Phillips reiterated that there is no delay in the drafting of an agreement with the IMF, and assured that despite talks in some quarters, the timetable for discussion remains on track.
The Finance Minister also informed that the White Paper on Tax Reform policy will be tabled in Parliament no later than October.
Dr. Phillips, in his Budget Debate presentation on May 24, said elements of the reform package will be incorporated in this year’s budget and will be implemented over a three-year period.
The new measures include: reducing distortions through drastic reductions in tax incentives and waivers; widening the tax base for both corporate income tax and consumption tax; legislative and administrative amendments to increase compliance; and lowering of rates, including personal income tax.