Mon | Oct 23, 2017

More support from World Bank

Published:Friday | June 23, 2017 | 12:13 AM
The World Bank headquarters in Washington DC.

 

The Government's economic reform agenda will be further boosted with the provision of another World Bank Development Policy Loan (DPL) in the sum of approximately J$9.05 billion (US$70 million).

This provision will further underpin the administration's ongoing policy implementation, aimed at spurring growth and development while enhancing Jamaica's global competitiveness.

The loan, which is the third by the Bank since its support strategy for Jamaica commenced in 2013, forms part of an overall J$34.9 billion (US$270 million) provided over the period.

An agreement formalising the loan is to be signed by representatives of the Government and World Bank in Kingston on June 28.

This was disclosed during a media briefing at the multilateral institution's Jamaica Country Office in New Kingston, on June 21.

Lead Economist, Philip Schuler, who spoke via video link from the Bank's headquarters in Washington, DC, said the DPL series for Jamaica has been supporting a wide cross section of reforms, legislation, regulations and procedures being embarked on by the Government targeting key areas.

These, he said, include prudent fiscal management and responsibility; energy diversification from oil to more affordable and cleaner options, such as natural gas and renewables; and modernisation of the economic zone framework to attract new foreign direct investments.

Also included are modernising the building code, which will result in the construction of more energy-efficient and disaster-resilient structures; reducing international trade costs through automation of the Jamaica Customs Agency's operations; rationalisation and consolidation of systems for public investment projects; and development of the public service pension scheme.

Mr. Schuler pointed out that these engagements have been supported by investment project financing, resulting in the development of fiscal and regulatory polices over the last several years.

"We expect to see, over the next couple of years, if those can be translated into greater growth," he said.

Meanwhile, the Bank's Country Manager for Jamaica, Galina Sotirova, said the new plan, coupled with the Strategy's proposed two-year extension to 2019, represented the institution's acknowledgement of the country's "commendable" economic progress over the last four years.

"Those (loan and strategy extension) are evidence of our continued commitment to be a partner of Jamaica in this very ambitious and necessary programme for growth and development in Jamaica," Sotirova added.