Mr. Speaker, we have come to the end of our budget process which began on the 4th of April, 2013 with the presentation of the Estimates of Expenditure.

Let me thank the Members of this Honourable House who have made contributions in the Standing Finance Committee and to the Debate which I opened on April 18th, 2013.

Mr. Speaker, Members of this Honourable House will recall that on that occasion, I paid a well deserved tribute to the bondholders and especially the pensioners whose participation in the National Debt Exchange (NDX) programme helped to make it possible for Jamaica to meet the prior actions stipulated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and enabled us to meet our fiscal targets. We must also acknowledge the sacrifice made by the public sector workers, as both groups led the national effort to support the nation’s Economic Reform Programme.

Their sacrifices were not in vain and it is with a great sense of satisfaction that I now advise the House that at [time today], as conveyed to me by our representative on the Executive Board of the IMF, Jamaica’s application for a four year Extended Fund Facility (“EFF”) with the IMF was approved in the amount of SDR615.4 million or approximately US$958 million. In addition, this will unlock more than US$1 billion of loan support from the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank.

The first draw-down from the IMF of over US$200 million should be completed in the next few days.

The Leader of the Opposition also claimed that there is a “US$1 billion dollar loan ceiling agreed between the World Bank and the IDB over the life of the EFF”. Mr. Speaker, there is no such loan ceiling set by either the World Bank or the IDB.

Mr. Speaker, I go further, the release from the IDB and World Bank says that “they have each preliminarily allocated US$510 million in financing over the next four years”. The US$1 billion represents an initial commitment and there is nothing that prevents us from seeking additional support.

However, given the failure of the 2010 Stand-by Arrangement (SBA), we want to establish for ourselves a track record of performance as the context for requesting further support as needed…Read More

Download the Closing Budget Debate Presentation by Minister of Finance, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips

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