Jamaica to Pass 13th IMF Test

Jamaica is all set to pass its 13th consecutive test under the IMF programme.

That’s the word from Co-Chairman of the Economic Programme Oversight Committee, EPOC, Richard Byles.

Mr. Byles made the disclosure while he addressed the monthly EPOC media briefing today on the country’s performance in the April to June quarter.

An IMF team is in Jamaica carrying out its latest assessment. Richard Byles says he’s confident Jamaica will get the green light.

Mr. Byles says the primary balance shows a surplus of $26.8-billion, more than doubling the target of 11- billion.

He says the Net International Reserves at the end of June is at nearly $2.5-billion; well above the IMF target of $1.8-billion target.

The EPOC Co-Chairman says it’s a good look for Jamaica’s investment prospects.

But Mr. Byles is cautioning that Jamaica still has serious challenges ahead. He says this includes addressing the matter of Public Sector Transformation and upcoming wage negotiations.

The EPOC Co-Chairman says he’s also concerned about a fiscal gap that will be created in the 2017 to 2018 fiscal year as the administration expands its tax break plan.

Meanwhile, Mr. Byles is hoping a slight zero-point-nine percent increase in inflation for the June period will subside in coming months.

The spike has been credited to an increase in the Special Consumption Tax, SCT, on petrol.

Despite the recent increase Mr. Byles is reminding the public that inflation remains at an all time annual low.

He is also urging the government to remain vigilant about the country’s significantly high debt to GDP ratio.