KINGSTON, Jamaica, – Jamaica stands to receive US$224 million from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after a delegation from the Washington-based financial institution ended a two week visit to Kingston on Friday.
Fifth successful review
IMF Mission Chief for Jamaica, Uma Ramakrishnan, said a preliminary agreement had been reached with local authorities on a set of policies that aims to complete the fifth review under the 36-month US$1.68 billion Stand By Agreement (SBA) that was approved in November 2016.
She said consideration by the IMF’s Executive Board is tentatively scheduled for next month and that “upon approval, an additional US$224 million will be made available for Jamaica, bringing the total accessible credit to about US$1.4 billion.’
She said Jamaica continues to view the SBA as precautionary. “Strong implementation of the reform program continues, with the sustained commitment yielding tangible dividends for the people of Jamaica.
Positive economic signs
“Unemployment is near all-time lows, business confidence is high, and the economy is estimated to have expanded by 1.8 per cent in 2018, buoyed by mining, construction and agriculture. International reserves are estimated to be comfortable under a more flexible exchange rate,” the IMF official said.
She said all quantitative performance criteria at end-December 2018 were met, and the structural benchmark to table in Parliament amendments to the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) Act was completed in October 2018.
“Inflation, however, was 2.4 per cent in December 2018, triggering staff consultation under the Monetary Policy Consultation Clause.
“With improving public debt dynamics, staff supports the reduction in the primary surplus target by half per cent of gross domestic product ( GDP) to six and a half per cent in the budget for the financial year 2019-20 to further boost growth and job creation. “
Ramakrishnan said the additional space accommodates much-needed growth-enhancing and social spending for citizen security, PATH, and rural infrastructure.