Ja granted US$130-m IDB loan for economic growth programme

Ja granted US$130-m IDB loan for economic growth programme

Friday, August 07, 2015

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THE Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) on Wednesday approved a US$130-million loan to Jamaica which the bank says will be used to strengthen the island's structural programme for economic growth.

"This is the second operation of a policy-based loan series, providing budget support for the Government's fiscal policy reform. The first operation was approved in February 2014," the IDB said in a news release.

The loan, the IDB explained, has a 20-year maturity, a 5.5-year grace period and an interest rate based on London Inter-bank Offered Rate (LIBOR) which is currently about 1.2 per cent.

In addition to helping to decide the price of other transactions, the LIBOR is used as a measure of trust in the financial system and reflects the confidence banks have in each other's financial health.

Under its economic reform programme, the Jamaican Government has approved key tax reforms aimed at broadening the tax base while correcting a distortionary tax system.

Among other measures, the programme targets strengthening of Jamaica's pension system. It also includes efforts to ensure that the pension fund is financially sustainable, including reforming the National Insurance Scheme. In addition, a fiscal rule has been established.

These reforms, the IDB said, will contribute to maintaining and enhancing Jamaica's sound fiscal programme.

"The IDB has been a consistent partner in this programme of economic reform on which we have embarked and we have made considerable progress because of the support received from the IDB," the news release quoted Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips.

"We don't always agree on everything, but when we don't, we can discuss and emerge with an even stronger bond of collaboration and are better off for having these discussions," Phillips said.

He added that the approval, on the eve of Jamaica's celebration of its 53rd anniversary of Independence, was appropriately timed as the country "strives to ensure the unfurling of all the opportunities that Independence represents".

Dr Phillips thanked the IDB for what he said was "a partnership that is helping us to deliver on the legitimate expectations of the people in Jamaica for a better life".

Alexandre Meira da Rosa, vice-president for countries at the IDB, said the agreement had the full support of the entire IDB board.

"This is a credit and tribute to the efforts of Jamaica to carry out the reforms necessary to achieve economic and social growth," he said.

"We believe that Jamaica is about to turn the corner and harvest the results of its efforts. This agreement is the fulfilment of a commitment that IDB President [Luis Alberto] Moreno and I made to Minister Phillips last year, to walk hand-in-hand with Jamaica on the reform journey. We celebrate the fulfilment of that promise and reaffirm the full commitment of the IDB to Jamaica," da Rosa said.

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