KINGSTON: Jamaica has signed three loans totaling US$105 million with the World Bank to support several government projects.
Finance and Planning Minister, Dr. Peter Phillips, signed the accord for the government and World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean, Sophia Sirtaine, signed for the bank.
The loans are in support of three government projects – the Foundation for Competitiveness and Growth, which will receive US$50 million; the Youth Employment in Digital Animation Industry, which will receive US$20 million and the Strategic Public Sector Transformation Project, which will receive US$35 million.
“The projects are intended to further the overarching goals of the government of Jamaica-World Bank Country Strategy for the period 2014 – 2017; to support the government’s investments in key strategic areas, including physical sustainability in youth employment; public sector modernization and to facilitate a more enabling environment for private sector growth,” said Dr. Phillips.
He said the loans are aimed at advancing the prospects for growth as the country goes through a strenuous economic reform program that forms part of the agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Phillips said the Portia Simpson-Miller administration will do its best to ensure a smooth implementation of the three projects, noting that the funds for the Foundation for Competitiveness and Growth project will enhance competition in the business environment, facilitate strategic private investments and support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
Funds for the Youth Employment in Digital Animation Industry will provide training and coaching for over 200 young Jamaicans, enhance entrepreneurial skills and create 150 start-up companies.
Under the Strategic Public Sector Transformation Project, the funds will be used to strengthen public investment management systems, budget preparation process and property tax compliance administration.
In her remarks, Sirtaine praised Jamaica for implementing programs aimed at spurring economic growth and said the World Bank is committed to ensuring the success of the nation’s economic programs.