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JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The country is deemed to have fulfilled all quantitative performance targets and associated structural benchmarks under the IMF Extended Fund Facility (EFF) for the April to June quarter.
  • The IMF Mission Head noted that growth, which was revised upwards to one per cent during the 2015/16 fiscal year, is expected to reach 1.7 per cent for 2016/17, “as ongoing investments crystallise and agricultural recovery continues”.
  • Mr. Shaw said the administration remains fully committed to the reform agenda and is escalating strategies aimed at boosting growth and job creation as well as strengthening the social protection framework, “while maintaining a prudent fiscal posture”.

Jamaica is poised to secure a 13th drawdown, totalling US$40 million, from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The country is deemed to have fulfilled all quantitative performance targets and associated structural benchmarks under the IMF Extended Fund Facility (EFF) for the April to June quarter.

Disbursement of the funds is subject to the approval of the IMF’s Executive Board, which is scheduled to meet in September.

Details were provided by Head of the IMF’s Staff Mission Team to Jamaica, Dr. Uma Ramakrishnan, and Finance and the Public Service Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw, during the 13th EFF review media briefing, held at the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) on August 19.

Dr. Ramakrishnan indicated that implementation of Jamaica’s economic reform programme remains “very strong”.

This, she said, is evidenced by the continued low rate of inflation, increasing net international reserves and a gradual recovery in economic growth.

The IMF Mission Head noted that growth, which was revised upwards to one per cent during the 2015/16 fiscal year, is expected to reach 1.7 per cent for 2016/17, “as ongoing investments crystallise and agricultural recovery continues”.

While noting that unemployment “still remains high” at 13.7 per cent, Dr. Ramakrishnan acknowledged that this “partly reflects the expansion in the labour force”.

Nonetheless, she underscored that continued implementation of the Government’s growth strategy was “essential” in facilitating job creation and poverty alleviation.

Dr. Ramakrishnan also stressed the need to strengthen the social safety network to safeguard the welfare of the poor and vulnerable against any “adverse effects”, consequent on the administration’s shift from direct to indirect taxation.

Meanwhile, Mr. Shaw said the Government remains “strident” in its goal to promote equity, efficiency and uniformity in the tax system.

He assured that with the full support of the IMF, the administration will continue efforts aimed at “rebalancing from direct taxation towards more broad-based and growth-inducing tax measures”.

Additionally, Mr. Shaw said the administration remains fully committed to the reform agenda and is escalating strategies aimed at boosting growth and job creation as well as strengthening the social protection framework, “while maintaining a prudent fiscal posture”.

The IMF Staff Mission Team, which arrived on August 9, met with government officials, technical staff and private sector leaders. Their discussions focused on policy priorities, the reform agenda as well as Jamaica’s post-EFF relationship with the IMF.