Official: Jamaica ‘comfortably’ met IMF targets

KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — Jamaica’s top finance official says the government “comfortably” met conditions set by the International Monetary Fund to pass the first performance review of a loan program despite major challenges.

Finance Minister Peter Phillips told lawmakers Tuesday that the four-year program’s front-loaded adjustments and reforms are designed to restore economic growth and place debt on a “firm downward path.”

Overall, Jamaica’s debt is roughly 142 percent of gross domestic product, one of the most punishing debt-to-GDP ratios in the world.

Phillips says the government hopes that real GDP growth “will return on a sustained basis” to the island, which has had a chronically sputtering economy.

The Washington-based IMF says Jamaica has so far done a good job of implementing fiscal policies under the $944 million loan program.

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