Advertisement
JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Jamaica has met or is on track to meet all 12 quantitative performance indicators and structural benchmarks under the new International Monetary Fund (IMF) Precautionary Stand By Arrangement (PSBA) for the period ending December 2016.
  • Co-Chair of the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC), Keith Duncan, made the disclosure at the entity’s first media briefing held on February 9 at Jamaica Money Market Brokers Limited’s (JMMB) head office in New Kingston.
  • He said the Government recorded a primary balance of $76.6 billion for first nine months of the fiscal year, which was $22.6 million ahead of target, while grants and revenues amounted to $351.9 billion, which was 5.2 per cent above the budgeted $334.5 billion.

Jamaica has met or is on track to meet all 12 quantitative performance indicators and structural benchmarks under the new International Monetary Fund (IMF) Precautionary Stand By Arrangement (PSBA) for the period ending December 2016.

Key among these are the central Government primary surplus balance; grants and revenues; inflation; new property tax rates and bands; and formation of the Financial System Stabilisation Committee.

Co-Chair of the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC), Keith Duncan, made the disclosure at the entity’s first media briefing held on February 9 at Jamaica Money Market Brokers Limited’s (JMMB) head office in New Kingston.

He said the Government recorded a primary balance of $76.6 billion for first nine months of the fiscal year, which was $22.6 million ahead of target, while grants and revenues amounted to $351.9 billion, which was 5.2 per cent above the budgeted $334.5 billion.

He further indicated that tax revenue intake was $322 billion, some $22 billion above budget, which he attributed to increased compliance and overall improvement in the performance of the economy.

Mr. Duncan said non-borrowed reserves from deposit-taking institutions totalled US$1.667 billion as against US$1.418 billion, while the out-turn for rate of inflation was 1.7 per cent, which was “within the target range that is agreed on with the International Monetary Fund.”

Additionally, he said based on preliminary data from the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the December 2016 quarter was estimated to have increased by 1.5 per cent, relative to the corresponding period the previous year.

In relation to the two PSBA structural benchmarks, Mr. Duncan noted that the new rates and bands for property taxes, configured under 2013 land valuations, were completed and submitted to Cabinet in December 2016, while the Financial Systems Stability Committee became operational following the appointment of two external members in November 2016.

He explained that the committee aims to ensure that the country has a stable financial sector that can withstand shocks, disruptions or crises.

Mr. Duncan said based on these out-turns, Jamaica “should be in a good place” when the IMF conducts its review between February and March.

Mr. Duncan, however, expressed concern that capital expenditure over the first nine months of the fiscal year was down $9.2 billion, noting that the spend was $29.9 billion. This, he pointed out, was below the $34.3 billion budgeted.

“Capital expenditure is (a) measure which we have to pay special attention to, as this is a driver of growth,” he said.