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IMF expected to approve more money for Jamaica


IMF expected to approve more money for Jamaica

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KINGSTON – The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is expected to make available an additional US$170 million to Jamaica, under the Precautionary Stand-By Arrangement (PSBA), following the first review of the programme in April.

Once approved by the IMF Executive Board, this will bring to US$574 million the money available to the Bank of Jamaica for drawdown, as needed.

This was revealed at a press conference Friday at the Office of the Prime Minister, to conclude the IMF Mission team’s two-week visit to review the programme for the period ending December 31, 2016.

The team reviewed the country’s performance in terms of the quantitative targets and structural reforms under the US$1.64-billion PSBA, which was approved in November last year, replacing the four-year special Extended Fund Facility that was scheduled to end this month.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness, in his address, said he is pleased that Jamaica has met all the benchmarks and performance criteria for the review quarter.

He emphasised that the Government will remain vigilant and committed to maintaining fiscal management and will ensure that the programme remains on track by securing effective administration of the institutions that effect fiscal policy.

“Though we are happy, I am not celebrating. Jamaica’s development as an independent country means that we have to take responsibility for our fiscal management, with or without the IMF. It is important that we develop the culture of our own review… as Jamaica must take responsibility for its fiscal policy,” he said.

Holness said the Government will be increasing its monitoring intelligence and surveillance over public bodies and will be scouting the international and local scenes for potential threats to sustaining a strong fiscal environment.

Meanwhile, Minister of Finance and the Public Service Audley Shaw, said the country’s economic performance is on track with gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the 2016-17 period estimated at 1.7 per cent.

Among quantitative achievements, Shaw noted that the country is on track to meeting the primary budget surplus for central government of seven per cent of GDP, and the country has also surpassed the target for non-borrowed International Reserves.

Regarding structural benchmarks, the Minister said the Government is actively identifying positions which will be affected by the implementation of shared corporate services in public relations and communications under the Public Sector Rationalisation Action Plan.

An internal audit has been done and the Government has quantified the implications through the development of a costed transition plan.

The Accountant General’s Department has also been restructured and responsibility for further development and management of the Central Treasury Management System has been transferred to that department. (JIS)