KINGSTON, Jamaica -- An IMF staff team led by Nigel Chalk, deputy director of the Western Hemisphere Department, and Uma Ramakrishnan, mission chief for Jamaica, was in Kingston on Friday for a brief post-election staff visit.
After meeting Prime Minister Andrew Holness and his economic team, the team issued the following statement:
“We would like to congratulate Mr Holness and the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) on their election results. The IMF looks forward to continuing to support Jamaica under its new leadership.
“Today’s meeting with Prime Minister Holness and his economic team provided a good opportunity to exchange views on the economic challenges and opportunies that Jamaica faces at this juncture, and on the policy proposals that have been put forward by the JLP in its election manifesto.
“We are appreciative of the JLP’s intention to continue to implement Jamaica’s economic reform program supported by a four-year IMF Extended Fund Facility (EFF), which was approved by the IMF Executive Board in May 2013. The reform program has thus far been successful in restoring macroeconomic stability and reducing public debt.
“We have agreed to continue a close and open dialogue with the Jamaican authorities on designing the policies needed to remove obstacles to strong and sustained growth, focusing on job creation, tackling poverty, reducing the public debt, and advancing public sector efficiency. There was also agreement on the importance of achieving the fiscal targets in the current program. In that context, fiscal measures should be designed to be consistent with a primary surplus target of 7 percent of GDP in 2016/17 and tax policy reforms should continue to contribute to a fair, equitable, and efficient tax system.
“We are conscious that continued strong social support for the economic reform program remains critical for achieving success. We welcome the Prime Minister’s commitment to transparency and joint public-private oversight and monitoring of the economic program.
“An IMF review mission team to conduct the 11th and 12th reviews under the EFF-supported program is expected to visit Kingston in May. These two reviews have been combined to enable the Jamaican authorities to focus on setting up a new administration following the national elections.”