JIS News

Story Highlights

  • A team from the IMF is scheduled to visit Jamaica in mid-November.
  • This will be the second review under the programme.
  • The IMF team is expected to review Jamaica’s performance for the quarter ending September.

A team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is scheduled to visit Jamaica in mid-November to conduct a review of the country’s performance under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF).

Resident Representative of the IMF, Bert van Selm, pointed out that this will be the second review under the programme, following the conclusion of the first quarterly evaluation by the IMF Executive Board in September.

He was addressing members of the Jamaica Exporters’ Association’s (JEA) at their breakfast forum, held at the organisation’s headquarters in St. Andrew, on Tuesday, October 29.

The IMF team is expected to review Jamaica’s performance for the quarter ending September, as well as take a forward look at how the country is expected to perform in subsequent quarters.

Jamaica was recently granted a second drawdown of US$30.6 million from the IMF under the four-year agreement,which brought total disbursements under the arrangement to about US$240.4 million.

“The programme is off to an excellent start… but we have a long way to go, as Jamaica’s EFF actually has 15 reviews planned, of which we have just concluded one,” Mr. van Selm stated.

In the meantime, President of the JEA, Andrew Collins, said the association is particularly concerned about the need to realise real growth in the economy and to see the stabilization of the Jamaican dollar against the US and other major currencies.

“There are many who believe that exporters are happy with a devalued dollar. However, that is furthest from the truth, as the instability in the dollar severely impacts our ability to plan, budget, negotiate or even do accurate forecasting,” he said.

Mr. Collins urged Mr. van Selm and his team to give sufficient consideration to the vulnerabilities of Jamaica’s export sector, even as the Government works towards implementing the terms of the agreement to address the country’s fiscal difficulties.

“(We hope that) sufficient flexibility will be exercised to enable the Government to make the necessary investments to stimulate and grow the economy,” he said.

Mr. Collins informed that the association has submitted recommendations for increased support to the export sector for inclusion in the draft of the Omnibus Tax Incentives Act, which was tabled in Parliament about two weeks ago.

Among the JEA’s recommendations is the introduction of tax credits to spur innovation, enhance competitiveness, boost productivity capacity and ultimately facilitate the emergence of new goods and services. It has also suggested the streamlining of the Duty Drawback Scheme to enable Jamaican exporters to benefit from waivers on all imported inputs.

“We are at a disadvantage as significant amounts of our raw material are manufactured outside of the country, and as such, we ask for duty waiver on the importation of these items for the export sector,” he said.

Mr. Collins also called for “special tax incentives for the sector to attract new investors and to support existing exporters.”

The JEA Breakfast Forum was held under the theme:  ‘Jamaica’s Growth Strategy and the Alignment under the IMF Agreement’.