JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Jamaica recorded impressive outturns to surpass the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) two primary benchmark targets for the April to June quarter.
  • The top performing categories were: general consumption tax (GCT), which came in $3.9 billion above budget; company tax, which was $1.7 billion above target; and stamp duty, up $600 million.
  • In describing the reduced debt to GDP ratio as “good news”, the EPOC Co-Chairman said it was welcomed, against the background that it stood at 145 per cent at the start of the IMF’s Extended Fund Facility (EFF) in 2013. “This puts us in a pretty strong position to continue to achieve (further) reductions in the future,” Mr, Byles added.

Jamaica recorded impressive outturns to surpass the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) two primary benchmark targets for the April to June quarter.

Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC) Co-Chairman, Richard Byles, says the country generated a Primary Surplus Balance of $26.8 billion which was $15.8 billion more than the $11 billion targeted.

Additionally, he said the Net International Reserves (NIR) stood at approximately US$2.3 billion at the end of June, to be US$500 million above target.

These outturns are expected to position Jamaica to pass the IMF’s 13th quarterly review which Mr. Byles said is being conducted by the country’s Staff Mission Team which is now in the island.

He was speaking at EPOC’s quarterly media briefing at Sagicor Life Limited in New Kingston on Friday, August 12.

Mr. Byles said the primary surplus outturn was largely underpinned by strong tax revenue inflows of $108 billion for the June quarter. This, he noted, was eight per cent above budget.

The top performing categories were: general consumption tax (GCT), which came in $3.9 billion above budget; company tax, which was $1.7 billion above target; and stamp duty, up $600 million.

The EPOC Co-Chairman said the underperforming categories, which “were few”, included: tax on interest and travel tax which came in $400 million under budget.

“So what we see is that tax revenues continue to perform pretty strongly… (compared) to the first couple quarters under the IMF agreement when we struggled to hit some of these targets,” he stated.

On a related matter, Mr. Byles said the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service has reported a further decline in Jamaica’s debt to gross domestic product (GDP) ratio to 120.2 per cent at the end of March.
He told journalists that this was 4.9 per cent below the 125.1 per cent target.

Mr. Byles attributed this to, among other things, the Government’s PetroCaribe energy and loan concession transaction negotiated with the administration of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, which reduced the debt to GDP by approximately 10 per cent.

In describing the reduced debt to GDP ratio as “good news”, the EPOC Co-Chairman said it was welcomed, against the background that it stood at 145 per cent at the start of the IMF’s Extended Fund Facility (EFF) in 2013.
“This puts us in a pretty strong position to continue to achieve (further) reductions in the future,” Mr, Byles added.