The International Monetary Fund, IMF, has approved 520 Million US dollars or more than 75-billion Jamaican dollars for the country’s COVID-19 pandemic response.

That’s according to a statement posted on the Fund’s website this afternoon.

In granting the request, the IMF praised Jamaica’s response to the pandemic.

The IMF Executive Board says it approved Jamaica’s request for emergency financial assistance to help meet the urgent balance-of-payments needs stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

It says the Jamaican authorities have adopted timely and targeted measures to boost health spending and mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic, supporting jobs and vulnerable segments of the population.

The Fund argues that Jamaica’s established track record of economic reforms has created buffers that are invaluable today in responding to the COVID-19 crisis.

The funding granted under the Rapid Financing Instrument will help meet the urgent balance of payment needs, while catalyzing additional support from development partners.

 The IMF says the COVID-19 shock hit Jamaica only a few months after the successful completion of its precautionary Stand-By Arrangement.

This it says was underpinned by strong ownership and civil society oversight. 

It says despite the authorities’ proactive mitigation strategies, the pandemic is significantly impacting Jamaica’s economy. 

The IMF says Jamaica’s policy response to the COVID-19 crisis is appropriate, including the timely adoption of targeted measures to support jobs and provide resources to vulnerable segments of the population. 

It also endorses a temporary reduction of the primary surplus and a modest delay in achieving the Fiscal Responsibility Law’s goal of bringing debt down to 60-per cent of GDP. 

Notwithstanding the delay, the IMF says the authorities’ renewed commitment to debt sustainability, including their plan to accelerate debt reduction efforts should growth over perform over the medium term, is welcome.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister, Dr. Nigel Clarke says the 520 Million US dollars from the Rapid Financing Instrument will be used to shore up Jamaica’s declining foreign exchange reserves.

He was speaking in the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

Dr. Clarke informed Jamaicans of the 120-billion dollar hit the country would be taking as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, he says as things stand now the government does not need the IMF’s assistance in budgetary support.

Dr. Clarke says the pandemic’s effect on foreign exchange inflows has been partially alleviated due to lower expenditure in US currency.

And, speaking with Nationwide News this afternoon, Dr. Clarke welcomed the IMF’s quick response in providing valuable assistance.

Minister Clarke, says the response from the IMF proves the credibility Jamaica has earned through its reform agenda.

Dr. Nigel Clarke, Minister of Finance and the Public Service.