Fiscal control will bring government more resources – Rowe
Financial Secretary Devon Rowe says implementation of the economic reform programme under the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) programme is expected to provide the government with the additional resources needed to undertake targeted responsibilities.
"To the extent that we are able to bring the fiscal arrangements under control, it provides the government with more resources to do those things that it really ought to be doing to execute its functions, to ensure that the State is viable," he said, citing provisions to government pensioners as an example.
Rowe was addressing the 50th anniversary awards luncheon of the Jamaica Government Pensioners Association at the Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston recently.
He emphasised that the needs of pensioners were recognised and that discussions were ongoing to determine how best those could be further improved to safeguard their welfare.
Rowe said that measures within the four-year extended fund facility had started to yield the desired results.
Those include modest growth, moderate inflation, exchange rate stabilisation, increased tourist arrivals, a reduction in interest rates, narrowing of the current account deficit, and a reduction in the debt-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratio from 147 per cent to 139 per cent.
The financial secretary said the debt-to-GDP ratio is likely to go down further to 131 per cent by the end of the current fiscal year and head "in the correct direction to 96 per cent by 2020".
Rowe said that at the end of the current IMF programme in 2017, "we expect to see lower inflation, the exchange rate system will still be stable, growth will be moving to three to four per cent of GDP, we will have a logistics-centred economy in (progress), a human capital system which will allow pensioners to be paid on time and the amounts they are due, public-sector modernisation will be far advanced, and electronic governance will be well in place," a Jamaica Information Service release quoted him as saying.
He gave the assurance that the Ministry of Finance and Planning was committed to working in conjunction with the pensioners association "to ensure that the lives of our unsung heroes and heroines, who served this great country, are in good shape."