Duncan Hails Gov’t for Reinstating EPOC

Photo: Rudranath Fraser Co-Chair of the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC), Keith Duncan, shakes hands with former EPOC Co-Chair, Richard Byles, at a formal handover ceremony at the Sagicor Life Building in New Kingston today.

Story Highlights

  • The new Co-Chair of the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC), Keith Duncan, has hailed the move by the Government to reinstate the body to oversee implementation of the recently signed precautionary standby agreement (PSBA) with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
  • On November 21, EPOC signed a new Memorandum of Understanding with the Government to continue oversight of fiscal, monetary and financial sector indicators underpinning the standby agreement.
  • EPOC will continue to have monthly briefings, with detailed quarterly reports to the public.

The new Co-Chair of the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC), Keith Duncan, has hailed the move by the Government to reinstate the body to oversee implementation of the recently signed precautionary standby agreement (PSBA) with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

He noted that the committee is critical in ensuring that the public “has sight of the plan, understands the targets under the agreement and is aware of the progress the country is making”.

Mr. Duncan was addressing a ceremony at the Sagicor Life building in New Kingston today (December 13), where former EPOC Co-Chair, Richard Byles, formally handed over the position.

On November 21, EPOC signed a new Memorandum of Understanding with the Government to continue oversight of fiscal, monetary and financial sector indicators underpinning the standby agreement.

Mr. Duncan said under this new arrangement, Jamaica is aiming to preserve the macroeconomic stability achieved, with renewed focus on growth and job creation, while maintaining fiscal responsibility.

The precautionary standby agreement, signed on November 11, offers a $1.64-billion line of credit to support Jamaica’s balance of payments in the event of economic shocks such as natural disasters, fallout in earnings and oil-price shocks, among others.

The new agreement will have semiannual reviews and a focus on non-borrowed Net International Reserves (NIR). The programme, which includes focus on public-sector transformation, also seeks to bolster the resilience of the financial system and will ensure continued modernisation of monetary policy, with special emphasis on implementing inflation targets.

Mr. Duncan explained that EPOC will meet quarterly for monitoring based on the quarterly indicative targets and the semiannual IMF reviews, adding that there will also be monthly meetings of a technical subcommittee to conduct ongoing analysis.

EPOC will continue to have monthly briefings, with detailed quarterly reports to the public.

Mr. Byles will continue to serve on the committee, whose members remain the same.

Meanwhile, in handing over the reins, Mr. Byles said he has full confidence in Mr. Duncan, who is Group Chief Executive Officer of Jamaica Money Market Brokers (JMMB).

“I have 100 per cent confidence in Keith’s commitment to Jamaica, his sincerity and commitment to making sure we follow the economic programme we have signed off on with the IMF,” he said.

JIS Social