Jamaica’s struggling economy may get $958 million boost



Officials from the International Monetary Fund said Monday that a deeply indebted Jamaica could get up to $958 million in loans to help turn around its sinking economy.

The Caribbean nation has been in protracted negotiations for months with the Washington-based financial institution. The two signed off on a preliminary agreement in February. Since then, the country has made “significant progress” in restructuring billions of dollars in debt, IMF officials said. The board could meet at the end of April to approve the four-year package.

Also, the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank announced that, pending approval by their respective boards, they have each allocated an additional $510 million in financing over the next four years to help Jamaica through its economic crisis.

Dubbed the Greece of the Caribbean, Jamaica has been struggling with high debt, low reserves and a contracting economy. More than half of the government’s spending goes toward paying its debt. IMF officials call Jamaica “a complicated case,” but note its “ambitious reform agenda” could help put the country on a path to economic growth.

“The program is about creating a growth-oriented environment in which employment can increase, in which Jamaicans can earn a living in their country and hopefully see less need to move outside. For that, macro-economic stability and debt sustainability are key because investors are very hesitant to invest in a country without such fundamentals,” an IMF official said in a Monday afternoon conference call.

But even as Jamaica works to strengthen public finances, improve debt management and institute tax reform, it’s also important to ensure that “there is a solid social safety net,” the IMF said.

The pending arrangement with the IMF has yielded mixed feelings among Jamaicans, who note that this is not the first time they have had to turn to the institution for a financial bailout.

Read more Americas stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category