Jamaica Tries to Reassure Public on International Monetary Fund Agreement

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While the last completed review with the IMF on Jamaica’s economy as September 2010, Jamaican Finance Minister Audley Shaw said the December 2010 and March 2011 assessments had not yet been reviewed by the IMF.

“We have neither passed nor failed the reviews,” he said. “It is a fact, however, that the overall assessment of our performance under the IMF Stand-By Arrangement has been broadly positive, though there was a slippage in the March 2011 quarter, particularly with respect to the Central Government primary surplus, which was $3.5 million lower than programmed.”

The IMF review has become a hot-button issue in Jamaica, as questions have arisen over the delay in news of the review.

Portia Simpson Miller, leader of the opposition People’s National Party, called at the end of July for the prime minister to “tell people the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about the IMF agreement.”

“Both ourselves and the IMF are focused on safeguarding the targeted measures necessary for us to achieve a sustainable fiscal path,” Shaw said.

The government was planning a number of cuts, he said, including reductions in capital and recurrent expenditure. Part of the plan includes a drive to collect a “significant portion” of tax arrears, something Shaw said last month was a widespread problem.

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