The Government of Jamaica remains committed to fully meeting its targets for the remaining two reviews under the existing fund facility with the International Monetary Fund; having successfully completed the 13th review of Jamaica’s economic performance under the programme, authorizing the immediate disbursement of SDR 28.32 million (US$39.6 million) .
The IMF Board in its press release issued on 19th September 2016 commended the government on its continued commitment to the reform programme. Jamaica met all its quantitative performance targets through to end- June and structural reforms are progressing well. Preliminary economic indicators so far suggest that Jamaica will surpass the quantitative benchmarks for end September.
The IMF staff reported that domestic confidence indicators are at an all-time high, and there are signs of improvement in economic activity, including agriculture sector recovery, strong performance in tourism and manufacturing, increased FDI inflows, and stronger private sector credit growth. Real GDP growth is projected to reach 1.7 percent in FY16/17, and could make the 2 percent mark.
Minister of Finance and the Public Service, the Honourable Audley Shaw, in his presentation to parliament yesterday stated that “Jamaica’s economic growth outlook continues to improve and tax performance is ahead of the projected target. Our expenditures are broadly in line with the budget although capital spending is slower-than-desirable. Inflation remains low and interest rates are falling. Credit to the private sector is picking up strongly; the financial sector is stable, and the external position of the economy continues to improve.”
While Jamaica continues to perform well under an IMF programme, there are still outstanding reforms to be completed in the coming months. Of note, is an action plan outlining the government’s plan for public sector transformation.
Minister Shaw informed the parliament that the draft action plan has already been prepared and will be submitted to Cabinet by the 26th of September. The action plan for public sector transformation will specify time-bound actions to improve efficiency in the public sector through a combination of shared corporate services, and the closure, merger and privatization of some entities.
“By end September, we have also committed to approve a new organizational structure for the Accountant General’s Department as part of our effort to strengthen public financial management,” the Minister said.
The IMF country team is currently on the island to continue discussions with the Government on a successor arrangement that could be supported by the Fund.