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IMF semi-annual review expected to be positive, says EPOC

Published:Sunday | July 23, 2017 | 12:00 AM
EPOC Co-Chair Keith Duncan.

The Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC) reports say that Jamaica has met all structural benchmarks under the precautionary standby arrangement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as at the and of June 2017.

It said that an IMF team will be in the island by September 2017 to conduct its semi-annual review based on the June performance criteria.

EPOC said it expects the review to be positive based on the performance of selected fiscal and monetary indicators up to May 2017 and the successful completion of structural benchmarks through to June 2017.

In a release, EPOC said the Government met the eight structural benchmarks for public-sector transformation, public bodies and public service reform.

These include the benchmark for public bodies to submit all legislative changes to Parliament by June 15, 2017, directing all earmarked revenues from the Civil Aviation Authority, the Tourism Enhancement Fund and the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund to the Consolidated Fund.

Upcoming benchmarks to be submitted to Cabinet are a proposal for the crisis resolution framework by July 31, as well as a proposal to revise the Bank of Jamaica Act in line with IMF recommendations by August 31.


Encouraging performance


It said revenue performance remained encouraging, with tax revenue intake of $68.6 billion in April and May equaling the budgeted target.

EPOC's July communique notes that recurrent expenditure for the first two months of the fiscal year fell below budget by $1.1 billion, while capital expenditure was $800 million or 27.7 per cent below budget.

"We encourage the GOJ (Government of Jamaica) to keep capital expenses in line with budget for the rest of the fiscal year given its importance as one of the main drivers of economic growth," the communique said.

EPOC said the primary balance of $15.5 billion exceeding the budgeted target of $8.2 billion for April and May.

"We are encouraged by the performance of this significant fiscal metric, signalling continued fiscal discipline by the GOJ," it said.