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Jamaica hits targets again — IMF

Sunday, August 24, 2014    

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Minister of Finance Peter Phillips (left) talks with International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission chief to Jamaica, Jan Kees Martijn.

Jamaica has met all its International Monetary Fund (IMF) targets again.

As a result, the Government will likely receive an additional US$72 million under the Extended Fund Facility when the IMF board reviews the programme next month.

The country has already received US$414 million under the 48-month-long programme thus far.

Jan Kees Martijn said that the policy implementation remains strong.

" The Fund mission reached preliminary understandings with the authorities on economic policies, detailed in an updated Letter of Intent, that will support growth and employment in the months and years ahead," said the IMF mission chief for Jamaica.

The IMF mission assessed the performance for the quarter ending June 2014 and the outlook going forward.

"Under the government's policy program, the current account has steadily strengthened, and net international reserves have increased to US$2.2 billion by end-July (with gross reserves at US$2.8 billion)," added Martijn. "The fiscal position remains on track to achieve an impressive 7.5 per cent of GDP primary surplus by the end of the fiscal year."

Finance Minister Peter Phillips said that fiscal performance continues to support the debt reduction objective.

"External accounts are improving, economic growth is continuing and the quantitative fiscal and monetary performance criteria under the programme have been met and the Government has also implemented all the structural benchmarks," he said.

Jamaica still faces challenges.

"For 2014 and beyond, the critical challenge remains to support economic growth and job creation while sustaining a strong fiscal position," said the IMF mission chief.

Phillips said that continued focus will be placed on strengthening the growth in the economy.

"The Government is committed to continuing the extensive programme of reforms of tax and public sector financial management, public sector modernisation, labour market reforms, all of which are important elements of the programme going forward," he said.

He noted that significant progress has been made in strengthening the financial sector with the passage of the Banking Services Act, which has been done with the support of the Fund.

"Progress has also been made on the framework for reforming the non-bank financial sector," said the finance minister. "These reforms will address risks inherent in Jamaica's highly interconnected financial system."

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