Tue | Aug 11, 2020

Jamaica gets J$327m debt relief from UK

Published:Wednesday | April 6, 2011 | 12:00 AM

The United Kingdom government has decided to write off £2.4 million (J$327 million) of Jamaica's debt for the 2010-11 fiscal year to assist it to promote economic growth and increase the efficiency of the public sector.

The relief is being granted under the Commonwealth Development Initiative (CDI) on past official development assistance loans through the UK's Department for International Development, which is responsible for promoting development and the reduction of poverty.

A release from the Ministry of Finance, yesterday, said the debt relief was made following an assessment of selected indicators from the Jamaican Government's medium-term framework and the national development plan, Vision 2030. Assessments for the next three years of the CDI programme will be more closely aligned with International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other multilateral programme monitoring, it said.

"The UK fully recognises that the macro-economic environment remains challenging and that the next few years will be critical to reducing the size of the public debt and increasing the efficiency of the public sector," said Alan Duncan, UK's minister of state for international development, who was quoted in the release.

He commended Jamaica's efforts over the past several months to reduce crime and pledged the UK's continued commitment to supporting Jamaica's efforts to address the security and safety of communities and to improve the performance of the police.

Finance Minister Audley Shaw used the announcement of the debt forgiveness to emphasise the Government's "unwavering commitment to maintaining fiscal discipline and to instituting the ... economic and social reforms needed to improve the living conditions of all Jamaicans."

Continuous support

The Ministry of Finance said that since 1997, the UK has given nearly £88 million in bilateral aid and debt relief to Jamaica. This has helped to support initiatives in security, justice, health, education, agriculture, infrastructure, public-sector modernisation and private-sector development.

Jamaica's stock of public debt as at January 2011 stood at about J$1.54 trillion, with domestic debt accounting for almost J$814 billion and external obligations at almost J$723 billion.

The UK's debt relief for Jamaica is part of the CDI which was launched in 1997. The programme's objective is to ensure that more resources go towards meeting the United Nation's global anti-poverty target by 2015.

Minister Shaw also emphasised the administration's "unwavering commitment to maintaining fiscal discipline and to instituting the necessary economic and social reforms needed to improve the living conditions of all Jamaicans".

business@gleanerjm.com