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Jamaica on course to pass sixth IMF test, says EPOC

Jamaica on course to pass sixth IMF test, says EPOC

Posted by Shanelle Weir on November 07, 2014

Jamaica has successfully met and surpassed all targets for September under its Extended Fund Facility (EFF) with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Co-chair of the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC) Richard Byles told journalists at its monthly press briefing yesterday that "this means that we are likely to pass the sixth quarterly IMF review."The sixth quarter is currently underway by the IMF mission to Jamaica and the results will become available on December 22.

Contributing to the positive performance for the quarter under review is strong performance in the primary surplus and the Net International Reserves (NIR).

Data provided by EPOC at the monthly press briefing shows that for the quarter ending September 2014, the country's primary surplus balance stood at $43.6 billion, which is $5.8 billion better than the target of $37.8 billion.

A primary surplus occurs when the Government's income exceeds its expenditure.

There was also better-than- expected performance in the NIR, which stood at US$2.2 billion at the end of September, which exceeds the US$968.3 million that was targeted.

NIR represents contingency funds, which can enable the country to survive severe external shocks and cope with shifts in investor confidence and natural disasters. It also acts as a measure of foreign goods and services that can be purchased over a period of time.

In the meantime, at the end of September, the Government's tax revenues were $169 billion, which is $3 billion more than the IMF target of $166 billion.

However, Byles noted that the revenue from tax collections fell short of the Government's own target of $176.4 billion.

"As far as the IMF targets are concerned we met them, but the Government's targets are a little more aggressive than the IMF's," Byles noted.

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