‘Exceptional’ Jamaican reforms unlock $80m of IMF funding

20 Jun 16

Jamaica has secured the release of a further $80m from the International Monetary Fund after “exceptional” economic reforms, the IMF announced on Friday.


The money represents the most recent tranche of funds supplied as part of a $948m, three-year programme, agreed in 2013. So far, the fund said, Jamaica’s implementation of reforms supported by the fund had been “exceptional by international standards”.

It highlighted that the Caribbean nation’s inflation is now at historic lows, international reserves have doubled, debt is falling and the country’s access to financial markets has been restored.

Mitsuhiro Furusawa, deputy managing director and acting chair of the IMF board, said the programme had made “major strides” in restoring economic stability, consolidating the public finances, reducing public debt and overhauling the tax system.

But he noted that with weak growth and high unemployment, more “concrete reforms” are needed.

The government’s wage bill, which crowds out priority social and infrastructure spending, needs to be reduced and the outsourcing of government services needs to be expedited, he said.

The proper execution of personal income tax reforms introduced by the new administration will also be critical, continued Furusawa, adding that stronger and better-targeted conditional cash transfers could help mitigate the impact of changes on the low-income population.

“Further structural reforms to boost growth and employment should focus on facilitating private sector development by expanding financial access and reducing financing cost, lowering energy cost, maintaining external competitiveness, reducing tax compliance costs, and improving public sector resource allocation,” he concluded. 

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