Jamaica continues to make economic progress with good fiscal indicators – EPOC

Economic Programme Oversight Committee head Keith Duncan speaking at a press conference at JMMB Friday (Oct 4). (Photos: Dennis Brown)

The Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC) headed by Keith Duncan held a press conference earlier today (Fri, Oct 4) where the Jamaican economy was assessed to be making positive strides.

Duncan went through the numbers and announced that Jamaica’s macroeconomic indicators remain strong.

“However, growth levels continue to hover below 2 per cent and growth projections for the current fiscal year have been lowered to 0.7 per cent. This is occurring within the context of ongoing trade tensions globally, and the fear of a further slowdown in global growth especially amongst Jamaica’s main trading partners,” Duncan said at the press briefing held at JMMB’s headquarters on Haughton Avenue, in Kingston.

EPOC met on September 27 and reviewed the latest available results for the period ending June 2019. Fiscal and primary surpluses exceeded the April-July target.

Revenue and grants of $202.1 billion for the first four months of the fiscal year exceeded the budgeted amount of $198.1 billion. Tax collections of $179.8 billion outperformed the set budgeted sum.

The fiscal balance for the period April-July 2019 showed a surplus of $7.3 billion which was $9 billion above the deficit of $1.7 billion that was budgeted. As a result of the revenue and grants performance for the first four months of the fiscal year, the Primary Balance of $49.3 billion exceeded the $43.7 billion budget target for April-July 2019.

Duncan continued: “Jamaica has to remain resolute and continue the economic reforms which have worked well for macroeconomic stability, and continue to drive towards Government of Jamaica’s medium-term growth target of 2 per cent. Jamaica needs all hands on deck.”

As the current three-year Precautionary Stand-By Arrangement with the IMF comes to an end in November 2019, EPOC will continue to serve at the pleasure of the Minister of Finance for one year in the first instance, under a new MOU.

He added: “As this IMF programme closes out, EPOC would like to acknowledge the achievement of both political administrations in demonstrating the strong political will to successfully execute the Economic Reform programme over the past almost 7 years. While we still have great challenges ahead, EPOC acknowledges and celebrates the ownership, patience and sacrifice shown by all Jamaicans in ensuring that Jamaica is in a better place today.

“We are positive that Jamaica can achieve its true potential, as we embark on this new phase of our journey to true economic independence, which should see real inclusive and equitable growth for all Jamaicans. We are positive that Jamaica can achieve its true potential, as we embark on this new phase of our journey to true economic independence, which should see real inclusive and equitable growth for all Jamaicans.”