Long-Term Foreign and Local Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at ‘B+’ with the outlook
arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and the actions undertaken by the Government of Jamaica
(GOJ) to minimize the effects. The onset of the pandemic caused a disruption in some productive
sectors, particularly Tourism which was a contributory factor to the contraction in the country’s GDP.
It also disrupted the trend of fiscal surpluses realized over the past three years, with Jamaica
programmed to post a fiscal deficit this year.
surpluses in the short-term due to the GOJ’s demonstrated commitment to prudent fiscal policy
management. Surpluses over the previous years supported the build-up of fiscal buffers which aided
the funding of the Government’s COVID-19 economic and social response through the Covid-19
Allocation of Resources for Employees (CARE) programme to persons and businesses affected by the
pandemic as well as financing the health response.
growth in 2021, driven largely by the re-opening of the Tourism sector. The pace, however, will
depend on the “timing of the outbreak peak in Jamaica and key visitors’ countries”. S&P anticipates
the rebound will commence in 2021 but expects full recovery in FY2022/2023.
The ratings release also highlighted the majority mandate given in the recently held general election.
This in their view will continue to support the accomplishment of macroeconomic stability through
continued commitment to fiscal responsibility and consolidation.
rating action said, “The affirmation of Jamaica’s credit rating at B+ is a sign of confidence in
Jamaica’s future. We entered the pandemic with significant fiscal buffers, which provided us with the
flexibility to absorb and respond to the crisis without affecting medium term economic prospects. As
such, as S&P forecasts, Jamaica is poised to return to economic growth in fiscal year 2021/22 although
achieving pre-COVID levels of economic output will occur in the medium term.”
economic institutions in the middle of the pandemic, through modernising our central bank and making
it independent, launching a public investment map and tabling the Bill to establish a Independent
Fiscal Commission is real show of strength. These institutions will enhance transparency and
accountability in the implementation of fiscal and monetary policy. These are important to enhance
policy credibility long into the future.”
external accounts due to economic recovery being weaker than expected then there is a possibility for
lowered ratings. However, consideration to revising the outlook to stable will be given if “risks of a
more severe or prolonged outbreak were to subside and the country’s public finances begin returning
to previous levels.”
Debt Management Branch
Ministry of Finance and the Public Service
30 National Heroes Circle
Tel: (876) 932-5419
Contact: Cheryl Smith