IMF Staff Concludes Review Mission to Jamaica
- IMF-authorities reach preliminary agreement on set of policies to complete the thirteenth review under the EFF
- Program implementation under the EFF remains strong— IMF Executive Board to consider review in September.
- Growth continues to recover gradually, inflation remains low and international reserves continue to increase. Unemployment, however, remains high.
An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission led by Ms. Uma Ramakrishnan visited Jamaica during August 9–19, 2016, to conduct discussions on the thirteenth Review of Jamaica’s IMF-supported program under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF).
At the end of the visit, IMF Mission Chief, Ms. Ramakrishnan issued the following statement in Kingston:
“The IMF team reached a preliminary agreement with the authorities on a set of policies that aims at completing the thirteenth Review under the EFF. Consideration by the IMF’s Executive Board is tentatively scheduled for September 2016. Upon approval, SDR 28.32 million (about US\\$40 million) would be made available to Jamaica.
“Economic growth in Jamaica is recovering gradually. Growth in FY2015/16 has been revised up to 1 percent, driven by agriculture and manufacturing. Growth is expected to reach 1.7 percent in FY2016/17, as ongoing investments, including in tourism, crystallize and agriculture continues its strong recovery. Inflation remains low, and gross international reserves continue to increase, reaching almost US\\$3 billion at end-July. Unemployment, however, remains high at 13.7 percent, partly reflecting an expansion in the labor force.
“Program implementation under the EFF remains strong—all quantitative performance targets through end-June were met, with tax revenues exceeding expectations, and structural reforms are well in train.
“Continued strong implementation of the government’s growth strategy is essential to support job creation and poverty alleviation. In this context, strengthening the social safety net will be essential to shield the poor and vulnerable from any adverse effects due to the shift from direct to indirect taxation. The mission also underscores the importance of ongoing reforms in the public sector to achieve efficiency gains.
“The mission welcomes the authorities’ recent proactive and successful liability management operation which helped reduce refinancing risk in 2017 through 2019. In order to further minimize concentration and refinancing risks, it is necessary to develop a comprehensive strategy for liability management.