IMF: Jamaica “On Track”

Above: Kingston (CJ Photo)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Jamaica’s International Monetary Fund programme is “on track” and policy implementation “remains strong,” according to the IMF, which recently concluded a staff review mission to the country.

“Jamaica’s economic transformation programme offers a path to vibrant, sustained growth and job creation,” said Jan Kees Martijn, who led the mission, which lasted from Nov. 5 to Nov. 14. “The government’s programme is appropriately centered on wide-ranging supply side reforms and a rapid reduction in public debt to support private sector growth. Multi-year fiscal consolidation based on a clear anchor—the primary surplus target—is integral to this effort.”

Martijn said the country’s economic outlook was also “improving,” with activity estimated to have expanded by about 1.8 percent year-over-year from April to June of 2014.

“The recent drought is expected to have undercut growth in the July-September quarter, but the economy will pick up steadily, with growth projected at 2 percent in 2015/16,” he said. “Inflation is likely to remain around 8 percent this year. Unemployment decreased to 13.8 percent in July 2014 from 15.4 percent a year earlier.”

Martijn said the critical challenge ahead would be “to sustain the reform momentum and the strong fiscal position, with the understanding that it takes time for the efforts and sacrifices to generate the expected benefits.”

The IMF’s Executive Board is set to consider the sixth review of Jamaica’s IMF-supported programm; once approved, the country would receive around $68 million.