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  • Noting that the allocation will be made in one tranche, Dr. Goretti, who is also the IMF’s Western Hemisphere Division Chief, said “the funds are going to be disbursed, I believe, either today [Monday, May 18] or tomorrow [Tuesday, May 19]”.
  • Consequently, the Mission Chief said the economy is projected to contract by 5.3 per cent during fiscal year 2020/21, with gradual recovery forecasted over the next two years.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Mission Chief for Jamaica, Dr. Manuela Goretti, says the country is expected to receive the US$520 million that has been approved by the IMF Executive Board for disbursement under the Fund’s Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI), by Tuesday (May 19).

The Government, through Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, wrote to the IMF on April 15, requesting access to the facility as part of measures to cushion Jamaica from the economic fallout of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Noting that the allocation will be made in one tranche, Dr. Goretti, who is also the IMF’s Western Hemisphere Division Chief, said “the funds are going to be disbursed, I believe, either today [Monday, May 18] or tomorrow [Tuesday, May 19]”.

“The money, which is the equivalent of 100 per cent [of the quota] for Jamaica… will be deposited at the [Bank of Jamaica],” she added.

Dr. Goretti was addressing journalists during a virtual press conference on Monday (May 18).

She praised the Government for embarking on a “very aggressive response” to COVID-19. which, she noted, has hit Jamaica “just a few months” after the country successfully concluded the precautionary Stand-By Arrangement (SBA), last November.

Dr. Goretti noted, however, that despite the authorities’ best efforts to limit the spread of the virus and deaths, and while bolstering livelihoods, the pandemic is significantly impacting the Jamaican economy, as evidenced by the decline in visitor arrivals, remittances and job losses.

Consequently, the Mission Chief said the economy is projected to contract by 5.3 per cent during fiscal year 2020/21, with gradual recovery forecasted over the next two years.

Dr. Goretti cautioned, however, that “the outlook remains subject to an unusually high degree of uncertainty”.

“It is in this context that we hope that the disbursement under the RFI will help strengthen Jamaica’s reserves and also help catalyse additional support of other international financial institutions and development partners,” she added.

Dr. Goretti pointed out that the RFI, for which there are no conditionalities, “really represents a contingency that the authorities can rely on, in case the pandemic proves tougher than is currently envisaged”.

Jamaica is among the 60 countries of the 100 that have, to date, sought financial assistance from the IMF, whose RFI application has been approved.

In a statement last Friday, Dr. Clarke said the resources approved by the IMF “will be extremely valuable in boosting Jamaica’s foreign exchange reserves, and in assisting Jamaica to meet COVID-19 balance of payment challenges”.

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