By Rochelle Williams
KINGSTON, Jamaica, (JIS) – Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, says consideration by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) of Jamaica’s request to access the Resilience and Sustainable Facility (RSF) and the Precautionary and Liquidity Line (PLL), signals the strength of the fundamentals of the economy.
Jamaica and the IMF have reached a Staff Level Agreement that will enable the government to draw down on approximately US$1.7 billion.
Under the RSF, Jamaica will be able to access up to US$763 million at an interest rate of approximately 3.8 percent with a repayment period of 20 years, and no principal repayment for the first 10 years.
“This is amazing. The countries that qualify for this, clearly, will be countries that have strong economic fundamentals,” the prime minister said, while addressing the official launch of the Quantas Financial Group on Wednesday, January 11 at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston. He noted that the government also took the decision to access the PLL as an insurance against various shocks. Under the PLL, the government will be able to obtain up to US$967 million.
“So, although we have enough reserves, the government is being prudent,” the prime minister said. “We are taking out this insurance policy nonetheless, which further strengthens the fiscal output, strengthens how the government is perceived and how investors perceive current and future conditions. So, in the event of any shocks to our economy, we have enough buffers in place to maintain stability,” he explained.
The prime minister said that the country continues to experience strong economic recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, expanding by 5.9 percent in the third quarter of the financial year, which represents the sixth consecutive quarter of growth.
In addition, prime minister Holness said the unemployment rate is at its lowest in the country’s post-independence history, possibly attaining close to full employment in another two years. These factors, Holness contended, are strong indicators of the country’s resilience, even in the face of the pandemic and the increased shipping and supply chain prices.
The prime minister said the resurgence of Jamaica as a strong economic player in the region has begun, and the country is poised for increased growth and development.
“Government policy is working, and it is creating the basis and the opportunities for firms and entrepreneurs to take risks, to invest and to continue to grow our economy,” he pointed out.