Sunday, January 27, 2013

JEEP: Jamaican Emergency Employment Program

We are constantly researching how governments can help create jobs more effectively.

As part of that task, we are reading about JEEP (Jamaica Emergency Employment Program) which is a job creation program created by the government of Jamaica.  The program will provide employment to 5000 Jamaicans at a cost of US$45 million dollars. The program was pushed for by Portia Simpson-Miller's People's National Party.  The PNP is the party of the left and the Jamaica Labor Party is the right of center party.

Under the JLP, Jamaica sponsored a similar porgram called JDIP (Jamaica Development Infrastructure Program) which cost US$400 million. The focus of the JLP program was infrastrcuture improvement.  The JLP program was plagued by cost overruns.

Jamaica has one of the highest debt to GDP ratios in the world (125%) and faces problem with crime and unemployment. Jamaica has approximately US $13 billion in debt or about $8000 per person.  In 2009 debt service consumed 65% of revenues.

The IMF restructured Jamaica debt in 2004 but has been unwilling, despite record low rates, to renegotiate again. Instead, in late 2009, the IMF agreed to the Jamaican Debt Exchange (JDX) which exchanged high interest short term borrowings for lower interest, long-term debt. The outstanding loan principal remained the same.

Jamaica is a middle income developing country which has seen either zero or miniscule GDP growth for the past 20 years. The economy is a service based economy based on tourism, remittances and buaxite exports. The GDP is approximately US $15 billion. Many believe the banks and IMF are making an example of Jamaica by not forgiving or restructuring it's debt.

The UK guardian has a story on Jamaican Debt Crisis here.

The 2012-2013 national budget of Jamaica is here from the Gleaner.

Jamaica Debt Exchange press release from UNDP.


CIA worldfact book
World Bank

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