Thu | Dec 8, 2016

Jamaica passes sixth IMF test

Published:Saturday | December 20, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Luis Alberto Moreno (left), president of the Inter-American Development Bank, in conversation with Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips yesterday prior to the signing of an agreement to support the institutional strengthening of the Ministry of Health, which will improve national surveillance, prevention and control of infectious diseases. The signing took place at the Ministry of Finance's Kingston offices.-Ricardo Makyn/Staff Photographer

Neville Graham, Gleaner Writer

THE WAY is now clear for the country to draw down an additional SDR46 million (USD$68 million) as Jamaica passed its sixth quarterly review under its extended fund facility with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Minister of Finance and Planning Dr Peter Phillips made the announcement yesterday as he addressed a group of business persons and sector leaders at a luncheon in honour of the president of the Inter-American Development Bank, Luis Alberto Moreno.

Phillips asserted that despite recent criticisms in some quarters, "Jamaica's success at these quarterly reviews is a testament to the commitment of this Government to improving people's lives over the long term".

He further emphasised that despite a number of challenges, Jamaica had committed to the reform process, and the real economy was responding.

"Employment has increased and unemployment has decreased and there are positive signs, particularly for youth employment. Inflation is within the targeted range, and indeed, this calendar year is likely to be below the lower level of the targeted range. The current account deficit continues to narrow. The Net International Reserves are at $2 billion, and we are maintaining a competitive exchange rate," Phillips asserted.

FOCUS ON GROWTH, JOBS

He commended those who have made sacrifices, including public-sector workers, pensioners, bondholders and the people of Jamaica. Phillips said the country had achieved regular success at the quarterly tests, and efforts would now be focused on growth and job creation.

At the same time, he called on members of the private sector to look for the opportunities, noting that it might call for innovation, market exploration and different ways of doing things.

Regarding recent developments in Cuba, Phillips opined that Jamaica should welcome the prospect of new and opening markets. Phillips said he was undaunted by the prospect of increased competition in tourism as Jamaica's product could withstand any level of competition.

neville.graham@gleanerjm.com