IMF Disappointed with Jamaica’s Economic Performance

The International Monetary Fund, IMF, says it’s disappointed with Jamaica’s recent economic performance.

IMF Mission Chief to Jamaica, Dr. Uma Ramakrishnan, says she’s disappointed with the contraction in the economy in the first quarter of the fiscal year and the increase in poverty.

She did so in an exclusive interview with Nationwide’s Kalilah Reynolds in Washington D.C. last week.

It’s the first time the IMF is disappointed since the implementation of an agreement with the Fund in 2013 under the previous Simpson Miller Administration.

According to the Statistical Institute of Jamaica, STATIN, the economy recorded negative growth of 0-point-1 percent in the June quarter.

While the most recent data from STATIN in 2015 show poverty increased to its second highest level in 20 years.

The IMF Mission Chief says she’s disappointed.

Dr. Ramakrishnan says this reinforces the need for the economic reform programme, and for stronger social safety nets, especially in rural areas.

That’s because rural Jamaica is primarily behind the increase in poverty.

So why is rural Jamaica faring so poorly? Blame it on the weather.

And, there may yet be more disappointing news for the economy, and particularly agriculture.

Last Friday, Agriculture Minister, Karl Samuda, said the sector may have suffered further declines in the September quarter of the current fiscal year, following a decline in the June quarter.

The IMF Mission Chief says they’ll now have to look more closely at Jamaica’s agriculture sector, and its resilience to weather shocks.

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