File photo: CGTN
WASHINGTON, May 15 (Xinhua) -- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Friday approved Jamaica's request for emergency financial assistance of about 520 million U.S. dollars to help meet the urgent balance-of-payments needs stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Despite the authorities' best efforts, the pandemic is severely impacting the Jamaican economy, as a sudden stop in tourism and falling remittances are generating a sizable balance-of-payments need," Zhang Tao, deputy managing director of the IMF, said in a statement, adding the economic outlook remains subject to "an unusually high degree of uncertainty".
The disbursement under the IMF's Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) will strengthen Jamaican reserves and help catalyze additional support from other international financial institutions and development partners, Zhang noted.
"Once the crisis abates, building on their demonstrated commitment to reform and stability-oriented measures, the authorities should continue the implementation of their ambitious reform agenda to support the economic recovery and ensure strong and sustainable economic growth," he said.
The Government of Jamaica has declared the entire island as a disaster area and established a special taskforce to coordinate the country's COVID-19 response and recovery efforts, according to the IMF.