IMF deal now sealedThursday, May 02, 2013
BY BALFORD HENRY Senior staff reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
JAMAICA will get nearly US$2 billion in loans over the next four years from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) under the Extended Fund Facility approved by the IMF yesterday.
Nearly US$1 billion in funding from the IMF, starting with an almost immediate drawdown of US$207 million, will complement just over US$1 billion in funding from both the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank, bringing the total loan package to nearly US$2 billion.
Minister of Finance and Planning Dr Peter Phillips, in announcing the agreement in the House of Representatives, yesterday, denied claims by the Opposition that there is a US$1-billion loan ceiling over the life of the agreement.
"There is no such loan ceiling set by either the World Bank or the Inter-American Development Bank," Dr Phillips told the House of Representatives.
"I go further, the release from the IDB and the World Bank says that they have each preliminarily allocated US$510 million in financing over the next four years," Phillips said. He explained that the US$1 billion represented an initial commitment as there is nothing to prevent the Government from seeking additional support from
The explanation followed the minister's announcement of IMF's approval of the Extended Fund Facility at its board meeting, yesterday, following months of delay.
The announcement was greeted with prolonged applause and celebration by Government MPs, including Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller.
However, as Phillips closed the 2013/14 budget debate it threatened to descend into chaos as a shouting match continued across the aisle over comparable performances.
Opposition spokesmen Edmund Bartlett and Karl Samuda rose on points of order to counter-claims made by Phillips in his contribution.
Dr Phillips said that the Government has authorised the IMF to publish all details of the agreement in order to prevent any misinformation. A copy of the agreement was also tabled in the House, as well as the Letter of Intent, the Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies and the Technical Memorandum of Understanding.
Closing the 2013/14 budget debate, which he started on April 18, Phillips said that the signing of the agreement signals a new direction which, in turn, requires a paradigm shift in how the country conducts its business.
"We are not at the end as far as challenges are concerned; neither could it be said that we are at the beginning. At best, we are at the end of the beginning," he stated.
The House approved the estimates of expenditure.
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