Jamaica to stay under IMF longer

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Friday April 29, 2011 – If the Jamaica Government gets its way, its current borrowing arrangement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will continue for two additional years.

The US$1.27 billion Stand-by Arrangement (SBA) signed in February last year is to come to an end in May 2012, but Finance Minister Audley Shaw announced during the Budget presentation yesterday that Cabinet has authorized him to seek a 24-month extension.

“This is a commitment by this Government to staying the course of fiscal discipline,” he told Parliament.

“We believe it is in the best interest of the country to continue its relationship, with the IMF. A continuation of the programme will send a positive signal that will maintain stability, reinforce confidence, provide the important factor of certainty to stakeholders.”

Shaw said the business community has already expressed support for an extension of the 27-month SBA.

A review of the country’s performance is conducted by the IMF for every quarter under the arrangement and the Finance Minister said most of the quantitative targets for the 2010/11 fiscal year were met.

However, Shaw acknowledged that the primary surplus of J$53.4 billion (US$626.7 million) was J$4.2 billion (US$49.3 million) below the revised SBA target.

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