PM Says Independent Council Will Ensure Proper Fiscal Management
Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC) will be transitioned into an independent Fiscal Council as a means of institutionalising proper fiscal management across Government administrations.
Mr. Holness said this move to set up the new authority is to ensure that the Government never breaches the fiscal consensus, adding that this will assure investors of stability in the Government’s economic infrastructure over the long term.
The Prime Minister was addressing a session on the second day (June 13), of the Jamaica Investment Forum (JIF) 2018, being held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St. James.
“The protection that will be placed around it will be almost constitutional… and, therefore, investors can take comfort that they are engaging in an economic environment that will have long-term stability and certainty for their investments,” he said.
Mr. Holness said the Government is committed to creating a secure fiscal environment that will encourage investments.
EPOC was established in 2013 to monitor the implementation of Jamaica’s economic reform measures under its agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The committee comprises 11 persons from the private and public sectors and civil society. They receive and assess information from the Government to track the progress of the targets under the three-year Precautionary Stand-By Arrangement (PSBA), which was signed in 2016.
The Prime Minister hailed JAMPRO on the third staging of the event, describing it as one of Jamaica’s key initiatives designed “to secure investors and cement decisions of those who have indicated interest”.
He said the forum has shown its capability to achieve that objective, with past events creating more than 6,000 jobs and garnering some US$300 million in investments.
“The context in which we are holding this investment forum is one where we can be proud of achieving good monetary policy, good fiscal policy. We are now at the point where the intention of government policy is to build on economic stability, to get on a certain pathway of economic growth,” Mr. Holness said.
The forum is seeking to promote six priority sectors for investment – Outsourcing, Manufacturing, Agribusiness, Tourism, Logistics and Energy – and is hosting some 200 international investors.
The JIF is being hosted by Jamaica’s trade and investment promotions agency (JAMPRO) from June 12 to 14, under the theme ‘Connect for Business’.