Gov't steadily paying down debt

Thursday, August 16, 2018

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JAMAICA'S debt is steadily decreasing as a result of increased payments being made by the Government, according to Prime Minister Andrew Holness.

Holness, who was addressing his quarterly press briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister in St Andrew yesterday, said the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service repaid $58 billion in debt last month.

He said Government's borrowing has also reduced, noting that “for the first time in a long time we only needed to borrow back $10 billion, so the nature of Government's debt diet is changing”.

“Government financing is improving and if we continue on this trajectory, where we are repaying more of our debt than we need to borrow, we will hit our 60 per cent debt to gross domestic product (GDP) ratio (target) probably sooner than later; but we certainly will meet that target by fiscal year 2025/26,” he said.

The prime mnister contended that “it's a whole different ball game for public finances” when the debt-to-GDP ratio is at 60 per cent, in terms of options for financing public infrastructure, spending on social safety net and for improving social services.

Meanwhile, Holness said that inflation continues to be low with the latest statistics indicating that the rate is at 2.1 per cent. “Now that's incredibly low and that's in itself a good signal,” he noted.

He said that the economy remains strong despite the fluctuations in the value of the Jamaican dollar.

“It's a strong economy that can display…Bank of Jamaica reserves in excess of $3 billion. That's the highest that our reserves have been in decades,” he said.

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