“Country Not Out Of the Woods” even with IMF US$574 Million – Holness

Kingston, Jamaica (McN) – Jamaica has met the benchmark targets under the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Standby Agreement was set forth in November 2016; and is on target to receive US$170 million at the end of April, increasing Jamaica’s access to IMF credit to US$575 million.

Chief of the IMF team, Dr Uma Ramakrishnan, at a press briefing at Jamaica House, said that Jamaica was “off to a good start.” However, Prime Minister Andrew Holness stated that, although he is pleased with the Government’s performance under the agreement, he was “not celebrating.”

Holness said the county was not yet out of the woods, as Jamaica is not always going to be under an IMF agreement, so fiscal discipline of the Govermemt must still be maintained. In order for Jamaica to achieve stability, the Prime Minister said the Government must elevate to where it is fully in control of the country’s fiscal affairs, without the IMF.

“I am not celebrating, because we do not expect to be always in an IMF programme,” said PM Holness,

“Jamaica must take responsibility for its fiscal policy, and I thought today I would use this platform to send this message that we must become in charge of our own fiscal affairs.”

“On this, the first anniversary of my Government, the greatest challenge I see is for administrations to maintain discipline in these areas, to maintain fiscal discipline,” he stated.

Minster Shaw outlined that Jamaica was on track to meet a 1.7 % growth for the current fiscal year, as well as for the primary budget surplus of 7% and reducing the debt-to-GDP figure to 60 % by 2025.

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