The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is giving Jamaica a $130 million loan to strengthen its economic reform programme, with a top official of the institution confident that the country’s economy is “about to turn the corner and harvest the results of its efforts”.

The IDB said the Jamaica government has been improving its public finances in recent years in order to set the stage for stronger economic growth.

Alexandre Meira da Rosa, Vice President for Countries at the IDB, said there was no dissent, from anyone on the Board, when consideration was being given to the Jamaica loan.

“This is a credit and tribute to the efforts of Jamaica to carry out the reforms necessary to achieve economic and social growth. We believe that Jamaica is about to turn the corner and harvest the results of its efforts,” he said.

The IDB official said the agreement fulfilled a commitment that he and the bank’s president made to Minister of Finance Peter Phillips last year – “to walk hand-in-hand with Jamaica on the reform journey.”

Minister Phillips said while the government and the IDB don’t always see eye to eye, the bank has been a consistent partner in Jamaica’s economic reform programme, and it is because of the institution’s support that considerable progress has been made.

“We don’t always agree on everything, but when we don’t, we can discuss and emerge with an even stronger bond of collaboration and are better off for having these discussions,” he said.

“This approval, on the eve of Jamaica’s celebration of the 53rd anniversary of Independence, is appropriately timed as we strive to ensure the unfurling of all the opportunities that Independence represents,” Phillips added, thanking the IDB for helping the Portia Simpson Miller administration to “deliver on the legitimate expectations of the people in Jamaica for a better life.”

The IDB loan has a 20-year maturity, a 5.5-year grace period and a 1.2 per cent interest rate.

This is the second operation of a policy-based loan series, providing budget support for the government’s fiscal policy reform.

The first operation was approved in February 2014.

Courtesy: Caribbean 360ec