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IMF delegation leaves, no agreement reached with Jamaica
KINGSTON, Jamaica—A delegation from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has ended a two week visit here holding discussions with government over an economic programme that could be supported under an IMF financing arrangement.
Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillip told a news conference on Friday that while significant progress had been made, the Portia Simpson-Miller administration did not reach an agreement with the Washington-based financial institution for an agreement for submission to the IMF board by this end of this year. Phillips said the IMF mission has broadly accepted the medium term programme which will underpin any deal and remains hopeful that an agreement could still be reached by year end.
“Well, it is still possible, will it happen? That depends on us resolving the issues which remain. Remember, we are effectively now in November in the sense that there are discussions to take place in the next week, we’ll be in the middle of October,” he said.
The former government resumed a borrowing relationship with the IMF in 2010 but was unable to meet several of the targets under the Stand-by Agreement (SBA) and in July this year, Phillips indicated that the government intended to renegotiate the US$1.47 billion agreement with the IMF which expired in May.
In a statement, Jan Kees Martijn, the IMF mission chief for Jamaica, said that “Jamaica has longstanding structural weaknesses” and a key challenge is how to attain higher and sustainable rates of economic growth, while reducing macroeconomic risks, including from the high public debt and high unemployment.
He said authorities and the IMF mission had agreed on the need for a medium-term economic programme that promotes a growth-oriented environment, aimed at improving productivity and competitiveness while raising efficiency.
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