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Jamaica: IMF team arrives for talks

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Jamaica: IMF team arrives for talks

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KINGSTON,Jamaica, Feb. 5, CMC – A team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) arrived here on Monday for the latest rounds of negotiations with the Portia Simpson Miller administration .
The mission follows extensive discussions by Jamaican officials with representatives from the Washington, D.C.  based international lending agency as part of efforts to reach a staff level agreement regarding a Letter of Intent.
This will form the basis of Jamaica’s submission to the IMF Board for approval of a four-year Extended Fund Facility following completion of prior actions to be agreed.
Two weeks ago the government signaled that it was close to finalising negotiations with the IMF. According to Finance Minister Dr. Peter Phillips, Jamaica has now supplied all the information required by the Fund.
However, before the agreement can be sealed, certain conditions must be implemented by the Government including tax reform and a containment of the public-sector wage bill.
The team  which is being headed by Jan Kees Martijn will be here until February 15.
Jamaica has been without an IMF agreement for almost 20 months. The former government resumed a borrowing relationship with the IMF in 2010 but was unable to meet several of the targets under the Stand-by Agreement (SBA) and in July last year, Phillips indicated that the Simpson Miller government intended to re-negotiate the US$1.47 billion agreement with the IMF which had expired in May last year.
The government says the new deal with the IMF is necessary to shore up the island’s balance of payments position and provide access to other multilateral sources of funds that usually take their cue from the fund’s vaunted seal of approval.