IMF gives Jamaica thumbs up for second test

Published: Thursday | December 19, 2013 Comments 0

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) yesterday officially confirmed that Jamaica has passed the second test under the four-year extended fund facility when the IMF Executive Board approved a US$30.8-million disbursement to the Jamaican Government.

The board completed the second review of the country's economic performance, confirming what the Economic Programme Oversight Committee had already disclosed, that Jamaica has met all the quantitative performance targets at the end of September.

The disbursement will bring the total so far, under the programme, to SDR 176.69 million (about US$272.2 million), the IMF said in a statement.

The executive board approved the four-year programme and a total of SDR 615.38 million (about US$948.1 million) on May 1, this year.

Nayouki Shinohara, deputy managing director and acting chair of the board, said overall programme implementation under the programme remained strong and there were tentative signs of a gradual economic recovery.

Reforms proceeding steadily

He said structural reforms are proceeding steadily and execution of the 2013-14 Budget has remained broadly on track.

"The next phase of the programme focuses on structural reforms to strengthen the fiscal policy framework," Shinohara said.

"The main priorities include the adoption of an effective fiscal rule to entrench fiscal discipline and consolidate the gains of fiscal consolidation in the medium term, the implementation of a comprehensive tax reform" as well as strengthening budget preparation and the procedures for budget execution and cash management," he said.

"Advancing the reforms of the securities dealers sector is essential to strengthen financial stability. Frequent and in-depth monitoring of the financial system to make the sector more resilient is also essential," Shinohara said.

He added that "achieving inclusive growth and enhancing the effectiveness of social protection are central components of the authorities' reform programme. The growth agenda needs to be bolstered by speeding up structural reforms that reduce bureaucracy and improve the Government's interface with the business community ... ".

The second quarter review and approval of the funds to Jamaica will pave the way for further support from multilateral partners, including the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank.

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