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Jamaica has too many public bodies — IMF

BY KARENA BENNETT business reporter bennettk@jamaicaobserver.com
Friday, April 21, 2017


International Monetary Fund (IMF) Mission Chief for Jamaica Uma Ramakrishnan says the public body breach highlighted in the country’s first review under the new Stand-By Arrangement sheds light on a bigger problem Jamaica is facing.

“What I want to highlight from this experience — having so many public bodies in Jamaica and the need to improve oversight and monitoring over the public bodies, that is where the focus should be,” she said.

On Tuesday the IMF concluded its first review of Jamaica under the Stand-By Arrangement via videoconferencing at the Bank of Jamaica.

According to Ramakrishnan, Jamaica’s programme implementation remains strong with sustained positive gross domestic product growth.

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The IMF noted that all structural benchmarks and all but one performance criteria for the first review under the new arrangement were met, allowing Jamaica another US$170-million drawdown from total access of US$1.64 billion over a 36-month period for use in the event of an external shock.

The performance criterion that was breached came from a public body with external debt payment arrears.

While she declined to name the public body, Ramakrishnan told media representatives that the institution deals with medical supplies.

“It was a small public body, which the amount was small $2.2 million ($300 million) in terms of the accumulation of arrears, and the arrears have since been cleared,” she said, adding that the IMF is now working with the Government to strengthen the fiscal institutions to improve the monitoring of the public bodies.

Already the Government has sought to streamline the operation of public bodies to ensure service efficiency through the public sector modernisation process.

Cabinet has given approval for the merger of the Real Estate Board (REB), the Commission of Strata Corporations and the Registrar of Timeshare into a single Real Estate Authority of Jamaica.

As a result, the REB is now working on merging the various pieces of legislation governing real estate: the Real Estate (Dealers and Developers) Act, the Registration (Strata Titles) Act, and the Timeshare Vacations Act.

Additionally, a merger is underway for the HEART Trust/NTA, National Youth Service, and the Jamaican Foundation for Lifelong Learning.

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