Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, says there is no delay in the drafting of a new agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), noting that the timetable for discussion remains on track.
He was responding to questions posed by Leader of the Opposition, Andrew Holness, during the sitting of the House of Representatives on September 11.
The Finance Minister pointed out that the last Standby Agreement between the past administration and the IMF, took more than a year to negotiate.
"There is no delay in an agreement with the Fund. There is no delay in the timetable of negotiations. There is no sticking point on which ourselves and them (IMF) have a divergence of any fundamental views," he stressed.
He told the House that during the IMF team’s visit to Jamaica between September 25 and the October 5, “all of the issues, which arise and the necessary stress testing of our own programme, will be gone through."
Meanwhile, the Finance Minister urged commentators to be careful in making statements on the economy that may cause problems for the market.
"A number of statements continue to be made by some spokesmen, who should be better informed, suggesting that the government is unable to conclude negotiations with the IMF and, by doing so, they aggravate, unnecessarily, the real challenges we face in the economy. For whatever reason these statements are made, they are potentially damaging to the efforts being made to restore Jamaica’s stability,” Dr. Phillips stated.
The Finance Minister also informed the House that the White Paper on Tax Reform will be tabled this month.
Dr. Phillips, in his Budget Debate presentation on May 24, said elements of the reform package will be incorporated in this year’s budget and will be implemented over a three-year period.
The new measures include: reducing distortions through drastic reductions in tax incentives and waivers; widening the tax base for both corporate income tax and consumption tax; legislative and administrative amendments to increase compliance; and lowering of rates, including personal income tax.