IMF Approves Disbursement of $30.6 Million to Jamaica

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - October 1, 2013

Above: Kingston (CJ Photo)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

The International Monetary Fund’s Executive Board has approved a $30.6 million disbursement to Jamaica.

The move follows the completion of its first review of the country’s performance under an economic programme supported by a four-year, $944 million Extended Fund Facility Arrangement.

Total disbursements have now reached about $240.4 million, according to the IMF.

“Overall program implementation under the Extended Fund Facility has been strong, despite the weak economic environment,” said Nayouki Shinohara, deputy manager and acting chair of the IMF’s Executive Board. “The authorities’ continued commitment to the program objectives of strengthening Jamaica’s fiscal position and creating the conditions for sustained economic growth will be critical to a revival of investor confidence and domestic demand in the period ahead.”

Jamaica’s economic programme for the rest of the 2013/2014 fiscal year will focus on structural reforms to “strengthen the fiscal framework,” the fund said.

“Priorities include the enactment of an effective fiscal rule to lock in the gains from the fiscal adjustment thus far, and a comprehensive tax reform to broaden the tax base and reduce distortions,” Shinohara said. “An expected short delay in submission to parliament of a new law on tax incentives should not postpone its enactment.”

The fund said that the programme was marked by two major pillars: achieving broad-based growth and “enhancing social protection.”

“The growth agenda should be bolstered by further actions to enhance the business environment and support well-targeted public investments, in close collaboration with development partners,” Shinohara said.

Shinohara also said that close monitoring of the financial system remains “essential” to prevent vulnerabilities following the country’s debt restructuring in February.

“A comprehensive reform of the securities dealers sector would also be important for safeguarding financial stability,” Shinohara said.

Jamaica reached a long-awaited deal with the IMF at the beginning of 2013.

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