Sat | Jan 20, 2018

PSOJ not worried over 'temporary' increase in Jamaica's debt

Published:Friday | January 13, 2017 | 12:00 AM

The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) has said that it is not worried by the Government's admission that Jamaica's stock of public debt has increased by two percentage points to 122 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) since the start of fiscal year 2016-17 last April.

Speaking after the disclosure by finance ministry officials at Wednesday's meeting of Par-

liament's Public Administration and Appropriations Committee, State Minister in the ministry Fayval Williams said that the debt should return to its downward path in the upcoming fiscal year.

"... On the one hand, we have significantly reduced the risk because we were able to refinance debt that's coming due to get longer-term debts on the book. But then it has caused this temporary increase that we're seeing," she said.

Dennis Chung, PSOJ CEO, said the explanation was "reasonable". "If we're looking at long-term management of the debt, then as opportunities arise, you might want to take advantage."

Darlene Morrison, deputy financial secretary, economic management division, also said that the foreign exchange rate over the past year had "a great impact" on the debt, which was near 150 per cent of GDP in March 2013.

The Government's interim fiscal policy paper tabled in Parliament last September maintained projections for a debt-to-GDP ratio of 96 per cent by the end of the 2019-2020 fiscal year.