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Structural benchmark met - Fiscal rule design submitted to IMF

Published:Wednesday | September 11, 2013 | 12:00 AM


The Ministry of Finance confirmed last week that it has presented a conceptual proposal for the design of a fiscal rule to staff of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in keeping with the August 31, 2013 deadline for its submission under the extended fund facility.

The design of a fiscal rule is among the structural benchmarks under institutional fiscal reforms agreed in the four-year loan programme.

According to the IMF agreement, the first programme year features fundamental structural reforms to entrench greater fiscal discipline and help prevent a return to deficit spending.

Strengthening fiscal institutions, improving public financial management, implementing tax policy reforms, and adopting a binding fiscal rule are all critical for the success of the programme, according to the IMF Country Report 13/126 on Jamaica.

The programme envisages the adoption of a binding fiscal rule to enhance fiscal transparency and lock in the gains of fiscal consolidation. The authorities agreed to design and adopt a legally binding fiscal rule to help ensure a sustainable fiscal balance.

The Jamaican Government had planned to present a first proposal to IMF staff by end-August 2013, and the rule is to be adopted and incorporated in the annual Budgets starting in fiscal year 2014-2015.

Going forward, the annual Budget should be guided by the new fiscal rule, which is expected to imply a pace of debt reduction that is at least as ambitious as the current programme projections.