Jamaica Set to Pass IMF Test for Sept. Quarter
Co-Chair of the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC), Richard Byles, says Jamaica is in a good position to pass the International Monetary Fund (IMF) test for the September quarter.
Addressing EPOC’s monthly press briefing at the Sagicor Group head office in New Kingston, yesterday (October 13), Mr. Byles said the key macroeconomic indicators under the IMF Extended Fund Facility were all strong for the period.
He also pointed out that the country met the structural benchmarks for September.
“When the IMF team comes for November, I expect that we will get a nod from them in respect of the September quarter review,” he said.
The Net International Reserve (NIR) for September stood at US$2.46 billion, comfortably ahead of the IMF target of US$1.86 billion. Additionally, the country produced a primary surplus of $41.7 billion in August, ahead of the Government’s budget of $17.5 billion.
Mr. Byles said the positive variance was contributed by a tax revenue of $177.5 billion, which is 7.3 per cent above target for the April to August period, as well as by expenditure being below budget for the same period. Expenditure recorded was $13.8 billion.
The EPOC Co-Chair said the positive indicators will help to lay the foundation for economic growth for the long term.
“Since April 2013, we have hit all the targets and we have reformed the economy, both on the fiscal and structural side, which is good because it is laying the foundation for the growth that we want to experience going forward,” he said.
He said this is already evidenced not just in the quarterly results, but also by the 1.4 per cent gross domestic product (GDP) recorded for the April to June quarter.
Meanwhile, Mr. Byles noted that the IMF Structural Benchmarks set for September 2016 have also been met, with the action plan for the public-sector transformation submitted and approved by Cabinet.
A new organisational structure for the Accountant General’s Department was also approved by the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service.