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Jamaica to restructure national debt with multilateral support


16:50, March 21, 2013

KINGSTON, March 20 (Xinhua) -- The Jamaican government is to restructure national debt by purchasing high-interest domestic debts and reissuing them on lower interest with support from multilateral agencies, parliamentary sources said Wednesday.

The revelation follows the conclusion of a National Debt Exchange in late February aimed at slashing interest payments on domestic debts by 17 billion Jamaican dollars (175 million U.S. dollars) annually.

Jamaica's national debt is expected to reach 1.8 trillion Jamaican dollars (186 billion dollars) by the end of the year, which is more than 140 percent of the island's gross domestic product.

Finance Minister Peter Philips, when responding to questions from the opposition in the parliament, said the details of the debt restructure were currently central part of a discussion among the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank that are considering the level of involvement to support the country.

He added the current discussions among the multilateral financing institutions was the main cause of the delay in finalizing a deal with the IMF.

Jamaica and the IMF reached a staff-level agreement in February on the key elements of a 750-million-dollar economic support under the Extended Fund Facility. However, the final conclusion will be made by IMF executive board at the end of March based on the "timely completion of prior actions" by the Jamaican government.

"There are some contingent discussions that are now taking place among the Funds, which is to say the International Monetary Fund, the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank regarding the extent of the commitments from each institution in support of the program," the minister said.

"The specific submission of the program to the IMF board will await the outcome of this discussions taking place this week in Washington. It is still possible, and we do expect, that the soonest possible date will be forthcoming and indeed it remains possible before the end of March," he added.

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