Jamaica: Economic Reform Attracts More Than $800 Million in Investment

SAN JUAN – Jamaica’s finance minister says the country’s Economic Reform Program has attracted more than $800 million in new investment to the Caribbean nation of 2.8 million people.

“The successful performance under the economic program has led to a sharp increase in investor and consumer confidence, facilitated improvement in the ratings by the international rating agencies,” Peter Phillips said in a speech at this week’s 2015 Jamaican Investment Forum in Montego Bay.

The ERP has allowed the island to successfully re-enter the international capital markets, according to Phillips.

In 2014, he said, “we were able to raise $800 million at the lowest rates ever achieved by Jamaica.”

Jamaica’s ratio of debt to gross domestic product has fallen from 145 percent at the start of the ERP to 139 percent in the current fiscal year, which ends March 31, the minister said.

The debt is expected to decline to 130 percent of GDP by the end of the 2015-2016 fiscal year, he said.

Investors have benefited from capital depreciation allowances, elimination of customs duties on all productive inputs and the creation of “a new regime that allowed all sectors to benefit from a generous tax landscape,” Phillips said.

“Our net international reserves, which stood at less than $800 million at the start of the economic reform program, is currently close to $2 billion,” he said.

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