Gov’t Meets Six of 10 EGC Policy Recommendations

Photo: JIS Photographer Economic Growth Council (EGC) Chairman, Michael Lee-Chin, addressing the EGC’s third quarterly Report at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston on Thursday, July 27. Others (from left) are: EGC member, Paula Kerr-Jarrett, and Executive Director, Maureen Denton.

Story Highlights

  • The Government has met six of the 10 Economic Growth Council (EGC) policy recommendations targeted for implementation during the April to June quarter.
  • Additionally, he noted that the Ministry completed work to develop the framework for public debt reduction through a programme of State asset privatisation and sale.
  • Mr. Lee-Chin also advised that the Ministry of National Security has commenced a feasibility study to create a Global Jamaican Immigration Card for issuance to members of the Diaspora.

The Government has met six of the 10 Economic Growth Council (EGC) policy recommendations targeted for implementation during the April to June quarter.

EGC Chairman, Michael Lee-Chin, made the disclosure at the presentation of the Council’s third quarterly report at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston on Thursday, July 27.

The policy recommendations come under three areas of reform – business climate, specifically public procurement; asset utilisation, in particular debt reduction and State asset privatisation; and Diaspora involvement in relation to immigration.

Mr. Lee-Chin said that among the targets met in the area of business climate reform was work by the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service to draft the Public Procurement (Techniques, Procedures and Offsets) Regulations and Public Procurement (Reconsideration and Review) Regulations, which were completed and tabled in Parliament in May.

Additionally, he noted that the Ministry completed work to develop the framework for public debt reduction through a programme of State asset privatisation and sale.

The Chairman noted, however, that the May timeline to finalise and table the Public Procurement (Registration and Classification of Suppliers) Regulations, and complete the Handbook of Public Sector Procurement Procedures were missed.

“The Ministry of Finance and the Public Service has advised that they are actively working on the establishment of the Public Procurement Commission, which is a prerequisite for the tabling of the third (set of) regulations,” he said.

“Public procurement is an important tool for stimulating economic growth and development. The central government and its public bodies, together, purchased approximately $100 billion of goods and services last year. We are, therefore, urging the Ministry of Finance to urgently finalise the regulations and enact the Public Procurement Act,” he emphasised.

 

Mr. Lee-Chin also advised that the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) met the April timeline for the creation of a protocol supporting the establishment of enterprise teams to handle transactions related to improving the scalability and efficiency of the privatisation and sale of State assets as well as the public/private partnership process through which these would be pursued.

Additionally, he said the DBJ submitted a protocol and framework to Cabinet for the outsourcing of privatisation processes to for-profit firms.

The Chairman pointed out, however, that Urban Development Corporation (UDC) and Factories Corporation of Jamaica, which fall under the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, missed the May timeline for the submission of a plan to divest up to 20 per cent of their assets.

“The Ministry is finalising the submissions with respect to the UDC’s assets, and the FCJ’s Board is working on a list of assets to be proposed for divestment,” he informed.

Mr. Lee-Chin also advised that the Ministry of National Security has commenced a feasibility study to create a Global Jamaican Immigration Card for issuance to members of the Diaspora.

This exercise, which got underway in May, is being undertaken by the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute for Social and Economic Studies (SALISES) at the University of the West Indies Mona Campus in St. Andrew.

Chairman of the EGC’s Diaspora Engagement Subcommittee, Dr. David Panton, told delegates attending the just concluded Jamaica 55 Diaspora Conference that SALISES was selected through a competitive tender process.

Meanwhile, Mr. Lee-Chin advised that while regulatory amendments that will facilitate the investment of pension funds in a wide range of products have been drafted, the June timeline for their tabling in Parliament has been deferred to allow for further analysis and consultations.

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