IMF News: Jamaica`s public debt ratio has declined significantly since 2013, from 145% of GDP to about 120% today. The new program calls for further reductions. Is there still room for further progress? “The IMF team has reached a preliminary agreement with the Jamaican authorities on a series of measures to complete the fifth review under the SBA. The IMF Board of Directors` review is scheduled for April 2019. Upon approval, an additional SDR 160.8 million (approximately $224 million) will be made available to Jamaica, for a total of $1.4 billion. The Jamaican authorities continue to view the SBA as a precautionary measure. Since joining the IMF, Jamaica has consistently used IMF resources and has used the availability of credit to help improve the country`s standard of living and economic stability.  Jamaica and the IMF have concluded a total of 16 agreements. In 1963, the IMF approved the first preparatory agreement with Jamaica.  The total amount paid by the IMF Confirmation Agreement was SDR 10 million, but could be used by Jamaica if necessary; Jamaica did not use the money provided by the loan, and it expired in 1964.  In the following years, Jamaica entered into two additional custody agreements, the first in 1973 and the second in 1977.  Under the leadership of Prime Minister Michael Norman Manely, who served two terms as Prime Minister (1972-1980 and 1989-1992) on a platform of democratic socialism.
 The 1973 confirmation scheme was approved for SDR 26,000 and the second was approved for SDR 64 million, of which SDR 64 million was SDR; Jamaica withdrew only SDR 13.25 million and SDR 19.2 million.  In June of the following year (1978), June 1979 and April 1981, Jamaica entered into three separate extended facility agreements which allowed Jamaica to repay its loan over a long period of time, as economic factors prevented it from complying with the original repayment plan.  These factors could include balance-of-payments imbalances due to conflicting structural procedures or slow economic growth due to the weak domestic balance of payments. FEPs allow a country to develop its internal structural integrity in order to strengthen economic growth without weighing on reimbursement costs.  Jamaica`s current program with the IMF is scheduled to officially expire in November. However, the country will continue to receive technical assistance and the Jamaica office will be maintained for another two years. “Over the past three years, Jamaica`s continued commitment to a programme of internal economic reforms has generated considerable dividends for the Jamaican people. Unemployment is at an all-time low (7.8%), taxes have been reduced, business confidence is high, inflation and current account deficits are low and foreign exchange reserves are about $3.5 billion.