The International Monetary Fund (IMF), led by Mission Chief to Jamaica Dr. Uma Ramakrishnan, has concluded its fifth and penultimate review of the island’s performance under the three-year precautionary standby agreement.
The consensus, according to the IMF delegation, is that the Government of Jamaica has met all 22 structural benchmarks set under the agreement.
At a press conference held at the Ministry of Finance’s headquarters on Friday, March 8, Minister Dr. Nigel Clarke said the team of IMF officials have been in Jamaica since last Tuesday, February 25, and have met with government officials, technical staff, private sector leaders and other key stakeholders.
“The shared assessment of the IMF and the Government of Jamaica is that Jamaica’s policy implementation, under the economic reform programme, has been consistently strong,” he said.
“Jamaica has met all connotative performance criteria under the programme, through to December of 2018. The Government of Jamaica has all 22 structural benchmarks under the standby arrangement to date, including eight macro-fiscal structural benchmarks and 14 structural benchmarks for the public reform programme,” Dr. Clarke added.
Minister Clarke further noted that following the tabling of the Bank of Jamaica Act, 2018, the island has one outstanding structural benchmark to meet under the current standby arrangement, namely, the capping of the stock of domestic arrears.
“The Government remains fully committed to the reform agenda, and is escalating efforts aimed at increasing domestic investment and growth, boosting job creation, bolstering economic resilience while maintaining a prudent fiscal posture,” he asserted.
In the meantime, Dr. Clarke added that public sector reform remains a key policy focus, with emphasis being placed on the acceleration of public bodies and the reintegration of bodies into parent ministries.
“In support of the Bank of Jamaica’s transition towards full-fledged inflation targeting, the Government tabled amendments to the BOJ Act in October [of 2018] and these are before a joint select committee,” he stated.
More encouragingly, Jamaica key macro-economic indicators continue to reflect “positive and stable trends”, according to Minister Clarke, as the performance of the country’s inflation, official foreign reserves as well as market investments allude to, “all of our major economic variables [being] aligned and are moving in the right direction.”