Gov’t Economic Programme will be Beneficial to Ordinary Jamaicans

Photo: Rudranath Fraser Co-Chair of the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC), Keith Duncan, addressing a briefing at the Sagicor Life Builiding in New Kingston on Tuesday, December 13.

Story Highlights

  • Co-Chair of the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC), Keith Duncan, is confident that the Government’s economic programme under the precautionary standby agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will be beneficial to ordinary Jamaicans.
  • “What this means for ordinary Jamaicans is that growth is equal to more jobs, greater tax revenues, greater fiscal space... which is more money to spend on social programmes (and so on),” he said.
  • The Co-Chair said under the programme, Jamaica is projected to have increased and sustained growth levels in the next three years.

Co-Chair of the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC), Keith Duncan, is confident that the Government’s economic programme under the precautionary standby agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will be beneficial to ordinary Jamaicans.

“What this means for ordinary Jamaicans is that growth is equal to more jobs, greater tax revenues, greater fiscal space… which is more money to spend on social programmes (and so on),” he said.

Mr. Duncan said achieving the overarching growth target of the programme will put the Government in a position to better provide basic services, such as health, education and infrastructure, leading to improved quality of life for Jamaicans.

He was addressing the first EPOC press briefing following the reinstatement of the oversight body for the new standby agreement, at the Sagicor Life Building in New Kingston, on December 13.

The Co-Chair said under the programme, Jamaica is projected to have increased and sustained growth levels in the next three years.

“We will continue to reduce debt levels, taking debt to gross domestic product (GDP) ratio down to 96 per cent by 2019/2020. This will reduce the interest burden, freeing up resources for investment in people (and) investment in capital expenditure to better our infrastructure,” he said.

The programme is also expected to build the Net International Reserves (NIR) level, to achieve US$3.6 billion in three years, with non-borrowed reserves projected to be US$2.8 billion.

“That would provide a cushion for Jamaica (so) that we can absorb the shocks and then going forward we (wouldn’t) need a precautionary standby agreement. And this is what this programme is all about, building Jamaica’s strength through economic reform,” Mr. Duncan said.

EPOC will be monitoring 58 per cent of the 95 Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies reform measures under the programme, inclusive of fiscal, monetary and financial sector structural benchmarks.

The broad areas are customs administration, debt management, financial sector, monetary policy, public financial management, tax administration and tax policy.

“As we have done before, we the non-public-sector members of EPOC are really happy to be supporting Jamaica’s growth plan and ensuring macroeconomic stability,” Mr. Duncan said.

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