KINGSTON, Jamaica, Sept 21, CMC – Finance Minister Audley Shaw says a delegation from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is due here later this week as he brushed aside opposition allegations that the island’s passage of the recent IMF test was on a conditional basis. Shaw told parliament late Tuesday that the IMF team visit here is to continue talks with the Jamaica government on a successor arrangement to the current US$932.3 million Extended Fund Facility (EEF) agreement. In his statement on the Jamaican economy, Shaw said that Jamaica’s inter-agency technical team has been working assiduously to frame the draft policy content of the successor arrangement that can be supported by the Washington-based financial institution. Shaw dismissed a statement by the former finance minister Dr. Peter Phillips who, following the revision by the IMF, had suggested that the Andrew Holness government had only received a “conditional pass” in terms of the last test. The Finance Minister described Phillips’s behaviour as “wild, mischievous and without substance. “In fact, in questioning the status, the former minister is attacking not only the government of Jamaica, but the IMF,” Shaw said, adding that “in their (IMF) consideration of the 13th review under the programme, no prior policy or other conditions were sought from the government of Jamaica. “It is standard practice by the IMF that policy commitments be considered in any programme review, which simply reflects the continued commitment of the government as expressed in its revised letter of intent that is signed at each review,” Shaw told legislators. Earlier this week, the Washington-based financial institution said it is providing Jamaica with US$39.6 million while commending the island for its continued commitment to reform the economy. The IMF said in a statement late Monday that its executive board concluded the 13th review of the US$932.3 million four year Extended Fund Facility (EFF) Jamaica has with the Washington-based financial institution. It said that as a result of the review, Jamaica will receive immediately 39.6 million. The IMF said Jamaica’s continued commitment to the demanding reform programme even in the fourth year of programme is commendable. “All quantitative performance criteria for end-June 2016, as well as the continuous quantitative program targets and structural benchmarks, were met. Domestic confidence indicators are at an all-time high, and there are improving signs of economic activity, including agricultural recovery, strong performance in tourism and manufacturing, increased FDI (foreign direct investment) inflow, and stronger private sector credit growth.”. Shaw told legislators that preliminary indications are that the government will surpass the IMF’s quantitative benchmarks set for the end of this month. “We are also on track to making the two structural benchmarks that we have set ourselves in submitting to Cabinet an action for public sector transformation and approving a more efficient organisational structure in the accountant general’s department, (both) to be submitted by the end of this month,” he told Parliament.
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