One of Jamaica’s most enterprising sons, national award winner Joe Issa has expressed satisfaction with the success that has been achieved by Jamaica’s economy this year, stating that the authorities should be encouraged by it to continue the reform programme.
“The macro economy is showing good signs of progress, with stable inflation, increased employment, lowering interest rates and a strong NIR (Net International Reserve), and that’s good for sustained growth.
“Fiscal targets are also being met, with buoyant tax revenues enabling the authorities to increase expenditures beyond that which was originally budgeted, much to the benefit of key sectors of the economy,” said Issa, an accounting and economics major from two of the most renowned universities in the world.
Issa was commenting on news that Jamaica’s December indicative targets were on track.
The Gleaner reported that the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC) indicated that based on preliminary results for performance at end-October 2017, Jamaica was on track to meet the December 2017 quantitative and indicative targets under the Precautionary Standby Arrangement (PSBA) with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
EPOC reportedly said it came to the conclusion after meeting on December 11 to review the latest available data on the performance of the economy.
In releasing information about the country’s performance the oversight body reportedly said fiscal year-to-date tax revenues at end-October 2017 were at $271.9 billion, which exceeded the budgeted target of $260.3 billion.
It put expenditure for the first seven months of the fiscal year (April-October) at $7.2 billion which is below the Budget (-2.2 per cent). Of this amount, recurrent expenditure was $7.0 billion below budget, while capital expenditure was $0.2 billion below budget (-0.7 per cent).
“As a result of the revenue and grants performance and the underexpenditure for the first seven months of the fiscal year, the primary balance of $65.5 billion exceeded the $48.7 billion budget target for April-October 2017,” the paper said.
And with the 2017-2018 first supplementary Budget tabled earlier this December month, the authorities assured that the primary balance requirement would be maintained.
They explained that the revised expenditures were calibrated within the fiscal space afforded by the revised estimates for revenues and grants, which generated a primary balance of $132.3 billion, thereby meeting the IMF requirement of seven per cent of GDP.
The total revised estimates came to $805.5 billion, compared with the original approved estimates of $715.6 billion.
On the macro side it said the non-borrowed international reserves at the end of October, was US$2.38 billion which is higher than the targeted US$1.78 billion for the end of December 2017. The Bank of Jamaica anticipated that the positive performance would continue through the end of December 2017.
The recorded 4.7 per cent fiscal year-to-date inflation is said to be within the central bank’s target of 4.0 per cent to 6.0 per cent, while interest rates was trending downwards.