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  • NIR as at the end of March 2014 is now at US$1.3 billion, putting the country in a better position to withstand external shocks.
  • The NIR represents contingency funds, which can enable the country to survive severe external shocks, to cope with shifts in investor confidence and natural disasters.
  • The debt/GDP ratio is projected to have declined by approximately five percentage points for 2013/14.

The country’s Net International Reserves (NIR), as at the end of March 2014 is now at US$1.3 billion, putting the country in a better position to withstand external shocks.

​Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips made the disclosure,as he opened the 2014/15 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives on Thursday, April 17, noting that the NIR have grown over 40 per cent.

The NIR represents contingency funds, which can enable the country to survive severe external shocks, to cope with shifts in investor confidence and natural disasters.

While the reserves are not credited to the country’s revenues, they provide confidence to the markets that external obligations can be met.

In particular, a country’s reserve holdings represent an implicit guarantee that sovereign debt will continue to be serviced even in situations where access to new borrowing may be curtailed or become very costly.

​In the meantime, he said the debt/Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio is projected to have declined by approximately five percentage points for 2013/14.

Also, Dr. Phillips informed that for the 12 months to March 2014, the Development Bank of Jamaica has provided nearly 10,000 loans to micro, small and medium size enterprises, surpassing the $2 billion target announced last year, by 15 per cent.

​He further informed that $620 million went to micro enterprises. Dr. Phillips also added that agriculture has been growing and small-farmer production has been expanding.