he World Bank has approved US$70 million in budget support financing to Jamaica to support the country’s reform programme and efforts to strengthen and accelerate recent gains in fiscal consolidation and sustainable growth.
The multilateral lending agency on Thursday approved the first Economic Resilience Development Policy Loan (ERDPL I), which is aimed at helping Jamaica advance its economic reform agenda, while at the same time protecting the poor and vulnerable, including from natural disaster risks.
Commenting on the loan approval, World Bank Resident Representative for Jamaica, Ozan Sevimli, reports that, “Jamaica’s authorities have shown the commitment needed to maintain macroeconomic stability and demonstrated significant progress, including major reduction in public debt.”
He reports that these efforts will contribute to strengthening the country’s capacity to cope with the threats of natural disasters and public health crises.
The loan is designed around three interrelated pillars to address the most important economic challenges Jamaica faces, which are strengthening fiscal sustainability and inclusion; enhancing fiscal and financial resilience against climate and natural disaster risks; and improving the investment climate for sustainable growth.
The first pillar will help to strengthen institutional mechanisms for greater fiscal responsibility, while also increasing the effectiveness and sustainability of the social protection system within a sustainable fiscal envelope.
The second pillar supports measures to ensure that resources are available in the budget to adequately cope with climate and natural disaster-related shocks, while the third pillar improves policies to reinforce the resilience of Jamaica’s infrastructure to multiple types of disaster risk, including reforms to land titling.
It also involves the application approval process for development and building permits, as well as promoting the effective management and sustainable development of fisheries.
In a statement released on the weekend, the World Bank said, “the US$70-million budget support operation is financed by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The loan has a maturity of 24 years and a grace period of six years.”