KINGSTON — Minister of Finance and the Public Service, the Hon Audley Shaw, has reiterated that the International Monetary's Fund's (IMF) third (December) and fourth (March) quarterly reviews of Jamaica's performance have not yet been considered by the IMF Board of Directors.
Mr. Shaw has also assured that Jamaica will live up to its commitments with the IMF, as this is vital for the continued stability of the Jamaican economy, “which was achieved at great sacrifice over the last 17 months”.
In a statement issued by his Ministry on Wednesday (August 3), Mr. Shaw explained that both reviews have been postponed pending the resolution of certain issues.
He said that these issues include the public sector seven percent wage settlement. Additional revenue needs or expenditure cuts arising from the settlement will be outlined in a Supplementary Budget to be presented to Parliament on August 31.
The other issues he listed were: finalization of the divestment of the Government’s shareholding in Clarendon Alumina Production (CAP); discussions on tax and tax waiver reform; and conclusion of negotiations with public sector unions on a formula for wage settlements in the medium term (2015) that is consistent with the agreed wage-to-GDP target of nine percent.
“Significant progress has been made on these issues and, with the finalization of the supplementary budget and the closing of the gap created by the decision to pay the 7 percent, the GOJ expects to be in a position to discuss with the IMF the date for the third and fourth Reviews,” the Minister said.
The Minister noted that it has always been the case that the European Union (EU) and other multilaterals pay attention to the economic programme of the Government with the IMF.
“The link between EU and multilateral disbursements and the IMF programme is, therefore, not new,” he said. He also noted that the review of the June quarter is not due until some six weeks after the quarter ends.
“We are confident that once the third and fourth reviews are successfully completed, all flows from all multilaterals will be quickly disbursed,” he stated.
Mr. Shaw gave an assurance that work is far advanced on the Supplementary Budget. The Estimates will be presented to Cabinet for approval by August 15, for tabling on August 31. He has also referred the public to his July 13 statement on progress being made on issues related to Jamaica’s third and fourth quarterly IMF reviews which is available on the Ministry’s website.
By Balford Henry, JIS Reporter & Editor