PHILLIPS MISLEADING THE COUNTRY ABOUT DISBURSEMENTS FROM MULTILATERAL AGENCIES/JLP

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Opposition Spokesman on Finance, Planning, Growth and Economic Development today said that the Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. The Hon Peter Phillips has grossly misled the people of Jamaica concerning the disbursement of funds from Multilateral Agencies, when he claimed that the absence of an IMF Agreement has hindered disbursement.

Dr Phillips had claimed in an interview with Ian Boyne, that there is a distinction between projects signed and actual disbursements, and explicitly stated that disbursements were being held up on loans signed last year due to the absence of an IMF Agreement.

However, this has been sharply denied by Mr Shaw who today provided the following status of loans disbursed and booked last year from the World Bank and the Inter American Development Bank (IDB), to clarify the misleading information provided by the Minister.

1. World Bank

A total of US$126m was disbursed from the World Bank during 2011, representing US$26.0m under the Rural Development and Energy programmes and a US$100.0 Development Policy Loan at 1.2 percent interest rate which was signed and disbursed in the last quarter of 2011.
There was no delay due to the IMF.

2. IDB

In 2011 a total of US$328m in new loans was approved for Jamaica and US$95m was disbursed. In November of last year three of these loan agreements totalling US$218.0m were signed with the IDB, of which US$133m was for the NWC, US$65.0m for Fiscal Administration at the Ministry of Finance and US$20.0 for Energy Efficiency at the Ministry of Energy.

Mr Shaw said that while disbursements under these programmes have been held up, they have nothing whatsoever to do with the IMF Agreement. This, he said, has been confirmed by the IDB. He provided the following summary of the reasons for the delay in these disbursements:

3. NWC-US$133.0m

This was held up because the NWC started using the more expensive BNS Loan first, and only after the IDB threatened to withdraw the loan, the NWC finally started using it a short while ago.

4. Fiscal Administration-us$65.0

This was to be used to improve Revenue and Customs Administration by the Ministry of Finance but so far nothing appears to be happening and no disbursement was made by the IDB.

5. Energy Efficiency

The Ministry of Energy apparently made serious project management errors that have hampered this programme. The MOE is now trying to get it back on track.

“It is therefore clear that contrary to the Minister seeking to cast blame on the absence of an IMF Agreement, the real culprits are the implementing Agencies, including his own Ministry,” Mr Shaw said.

“Dr Phillips needs to stop misleading the country and start doing his job as Minister by ensuring the timely expenditure of cheap money (1.2percent per annum interest rate) which were obtained by the previous Government and which now lay languishing due to inefficiency and downright incompetence.”

“It is high time that this Administration and the Finance Minister stop the complaining and spreading falsehood and do the work that the taxpayers of this country are paying them to do,” Mr Shaw said.

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