17 Feb 2013

IMF loan for Jamaica

7:25 am on 17 February 2013

Terms have been agreed by Jamaica and the International Monetary Fund for a loan of $US750 million.

A condition for the loan is the completion of a debt swap.

The BBC reports Jamaica must get private sector lenders to accept more lenient terms on its existing debt load, which is equal to 140% of the island's economic output.

The government must also make spending cuts and labour market reforms.

The four-year loan still needs to be approved by the IMF's executive board, which is due to review the terms by the end of March.

"If this debt is not reduced, Jamaica faces a dismal future," Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller said on TV on Monday night.

About 55% of government spending goes towards paying the national debt and 25% goes on wages.

The BBC reports it will the second such debt swap by Jamaica in three years.