Jamaica Expected to Pass 11th IMF Test – Byles

Story Highlights

  • Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC) Co-Chair, Richard Byles, said he expects that Jamaica will pass the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) 11th quarterly test once tax revenues continue to be ahead of target and the primary surplus target is achieved.
  • He said the Committee has observed a trend “where tax revenues have not just been hitting the IMF target but are surpassing it.”
  • Mr. Byles also noted that expenditure for the April to November period was $8.3 billion below budget.

Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC) Co-Chair, Richard Byles, said he expects that Jamaica will pass the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) 11th quarterly test once tax revenues continue to be ahead of target and the primary surplus target is achieved.

He was speaking at EPOC’s monthly press briefing held at Sagicor’s head office in New Kingston on Tuesday (January 19).

He said the Committee has observed a trend “where tax revenues have not just been hitting the IMF target but are surpassing it.”

Tax revenues were $6.2 billion for the first eight months of the fiscal year

(April to November 2015), which was 2.5 per cent ahead of target. The collections were 14.2 per cent or $31.9 billion above the similar period in 2014.

“It’s a new phenomenon and I guess, a welcome one. If we can keep that up, I think that we will be in good stead for the December test,” he said.

Meanwhile, the primary surplus was $55.8 billion, compared to a budget of $50.5 billion for the fiscal year to November.

“In December, the primary balance that we are being measured against goes to

7.25 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) from 7.5 per cent. By April, it will go to 7.0 per cent. I believe that the December target, certainly in respect of the two primary indicators will (be met),” Mr. Byles said.

Meanwhile, as at the end of December, the Net International Reserve (NIR) stood at US$2.44 billion, which was US$800 million in excess of the IMF target of US$1.64 billion for end-December.

Mr. Byles also noted that expenditure for the April to November period was $8.3 billion below budget.

The Co-Chair further announced the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) has also confirmed the Planning Institute of Jamaica’s (PIOJ) estimate that Jamaica’s economy grew by 1.5 per cent for the third quarter ending September 2015, when compared to the previous period.

This figure follows on growth of 0.4 per cent and 0.7 per cent recorded over the first and second quarters last year.

JIS Social