Tue | Sep 18, 2018

Hasten divestment of underused assets, says IMF

Published:Tuesday | October 24, 2017 | 12:19 PM

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is urging the government to speed up its efforts to divest underutilised assets as part of the structural reforms to support a dynamic private sector that creates jobs.

In that regard, it has also suggested that efforts should be made to upgrade procurement procedures, ease the development approval process, and foster financial inclusion.

The Fund’s Deputy Managing Director, Tao Zhang, in a statement following the executive board’s completion of the second review under the standby arrangement for Jamaica on Monday, October 23, said the authorities’ commitment to the programme remains strong more than four years after the country embarked on difficult economic reforms.

He said programme performance is on track and macroeconomic stability is entrenched, with stronger fiscal and external positions and subdued inflation.

Nevertheless, vulnerability to weather-related shocks continues to pose important challenges to Jamaica’s growth performance, said Zhang.

Against that backdrop, supply-side reforms, including enhancing resilience to weather swings, must be accelerated to deliver better growth and job outcomes, reduce poverty, and improve living standards, while sustaining macroeconomic stability.

“Concluding the ongoing wage negotiations is necessary for budget certainty,” he said. “More generally, fiscal sustainability requires a continued reduction in the public wage bill, particularly as the government rethinks its role, responsibilities, and size of its workforce.”