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Jamaica Finance Minister Says Government Wants To Avoid Capital Markets

Dr. Peter Phillips, Leader of Jamaica's opposition party, the People's National Party (PNP), said Prime Minister Andrew Holness' "record of keeping promises is not a good one -- much has been promised but not delivered".

Jamaica Finance Minister Says Government Wants To Avoid Capital Markets

KINGSTON, Jamaica CMC – The Jamaica government says it will avoid seeking funding from the capital markets for as long as is possible, as it continues to exercise strict fiscal management.

“It’s a situation that we keep under review…we are trying to remain outside of the need to go to the capital markets for as long as possible…what we want to do is demonstrate not only a capacity to live within our means, but to finance ourselves from identifiable resources from the multilaterals, to the fullest extent possible,” Finance Minister, Dr. Peter Phillips, said.

He said Jamaica should be able to meet major scheduled debt payments for the next calendar year, without having to go to the international capital markets.

His remarks follow a statement from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that it had approved a disbursement of US$30.6 million for Jamaica after completing the first review of the island’s performance under a multi-million dollar economic program.

The IMF earlier this year approved a four-year US$944 million Extended Fund Facility (EFF) arrangement with Jamaica and according to the Washington-based financial institution, the completion of the review enables the disbursement of US$30.6 million “which would bring total disbursements under the arrangement to US$240.4 million.”

Phillips said as conditions improve, structural reforms make an impact, and investor confidence grows, real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth will return.

“We remain hopeful that we will see a return to growth starting in the second quarter of the fiscal year,” he said.

The IMF said Jamaica has committed to press ahead with the next round of reforms, including the establishment of a fiscal rule, and comprehensive tax reform.

But it warned “risks to the program remain high, including possible external shocks, a delayed growth recovery, shortfalls in budget financing, and policy slippage”.

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