Jamaica Gets $15 Billion Support from IDB
By Douglas McIntosh February 7, 2014
Jamaica has received additional multilateral funding support, totaling just over $15 billion (US$140 million), from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
The loan provisions, which were approved by the IDB’s Board on February 5, will provide the Government with the necessary budgetary support to undertake the country’s Fiscal Structural Programme for Economic Growth, and Competitiveness Enhancement Programme (III). A sum of $8.62 billion (US$80 million) has been earmarked for the Fiscal Structural Programme and $6.46 billion (US$60 million) for the Competitiveness Programme.
Finance and Planning Minister, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, and IDB Country Representative in Jamaica, Therese Turner-Jones, signed two loan contracts formalizing the agreement on February 6, during a ceremony at the Ministry, in Kingston.
Dr. Phillips explained that the funds will enable the government to effectively execute key activities and measures, aimed at enhancing fiscal administration of the economy. These, he outlined, include: tax reform processes; ensuring sustainability of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS); and more effective rationalization of, and greater accountability in public bodies.
The Minister noted that the competitiveness programme will complement fiscal and monetary measures by supporting efforts within the public sector to introduce processes such as the secured transactions framework; efforts to develop a regulatory framework for mobile banking; and other undertakings intended to enhance competitiveness among Jamaican enterprises.
“This (level of support) is reflective of the growing confidence in the multilateral community of Jamaica’s commitment to its economic reform programme. It is an essential complement to the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) that we have entered into with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and represents their (IDB) commitment to Jamaica’s efforts to reform our economy, and secure greater levels of growth and competitiveness, which will be the necessary and essential underpinnings of any effort to improve the levels of employment and income in the country,” Dr. Phillips said.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Turner-Jones said the IDB’s input is in recognition of Jamaica’s need for support to ensure the successful implementation of its economic programme, particularly within the context of the EFF.
“The discussion at the (IDB) Board went fairly smoothly in terms of the Board’s recognition that Jamaica’s problems are complex and that there is a need for the IDB to be involved in finding durable solutions for them,” she added.
Mrs. Turner-Jones expressed the hope that both loans “will go a long way in helping the Government, at least, to smooth the way for 2014, (thus) cementing more reforms (earmarked) in this programme.”