THE International Monetary Fund's (IMF's) board will conduct Jamaica's first review under its current Extended Fund Facility (EFF) on September 30.
Provided that the IMF's management and executive board and the staff level understanding are approved, the country will be able to access the next drawdown of SDR 19.97 million, or US$30.4 million.
The IMF mission to Jamaica already indicated that all quantitative performance targets and indicative targets for end-June were met, including the floor on social spending.
However, a conceptual framework for a fiscal rule that will help lock in the gains from fiscal consolidation, over the longer term, is needed, according to Jan Kees Martijn, the Fund's mission chief for Jamaica.
The key elements of that programme include,fundamental tax reform by next March to broaden the tax base, simplify of the tax system, reduction of tax rates and economic distortions, and support growth; strategies to improve the business environment and pursue strategic investments; actions to make the financial sector more resilient, including phased reforms of the securities dealers sector; and strengthening the social protection framework.
According to the IMF, the Government continues to implement its decision to strictly limit the granting of discretionary waivers. Several legislative amendments have been adopted to bolster tax administration, and the resources of the large taxpayers office have been increased.
"Overall policy implementation thus far under the programme has been strong, and structural reforms are progressing," said the IMF.
Notwithstanding, recent data show that the Jamaican economy remains challenged.
Economic activity is estimated to have contracted by 0.7 per cent in FY2012/13, with a further decline from April to June.
Also, the reported unemployment rate increased to 16.3 per cent at end-April 2013, driven by a sharp increase in the labour force, and inflation reached 9.7 percent (year-over-year) in July 2013, according to the IMF.