JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Governments across the region have expressed an interest in getting guidance from Jamaica in setting up bodies similar to the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC), to monitor economic reform measures in their own countries.
  • Financial Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Planning, Devon Rowe, made the disclosure, while addressing Tuesday’s (March 10) weekly St. Andrew Rotary Club luncheon at the Four Seasons Hotel.
  • The EPOC, which is the only such body of its kind globally, comprises 11 representatives of the private and public sectors, civil society, and trade unions.

Governments across the region have expressed an interest in getting guidance from Jamaica in setting up bodies similar to the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC), to monitor economic reform measures in their own countries.

Financial Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Planning, Devon Rowe, made the disclosure, while addressing Tuesday’s (March 10) weekly St. Andrew Rotary Club luncheon at the Four Seasons Hotel.

He informed that since the endorsement of the EPOC by the International Monetary Fund’s ( IMF) Managing Director, Christine Lagarde, during her visit to Jamaica in June 2014, representatives of Finance Ministries in other Caribbean countries “have contacted me to say they are interested in forming their own EPOC-style arrangements… because they have seen the benefits that can be created.”

The EPOC, which is the only such body of its kind globally, comprises 11 representatives of the private and public sectors, civil society, and trade unions.

The body is tasked with receiving and reviewing information on the progress of the Government’s implementation of the Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies (MEFP) over the life of the IMF’s US$932 million four-year Extended Fund Facility (EFF), which supports the country’s Economic Reform Programme (ERP).

Its role also includes assisting in ensuring that the agreed targets are achieved, as well as advising the public, through the media, of any concerns or developments.

The EPOC is Co-Chaired by Bank of Jamaica (BoJ) Governor, Brian Wynter, and Sagicor Group Jamaica Limited’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Richard Byles.

Mr. Rowe, in hailing the work of the committee, said it has been a key partner in the implementation of the economic reform measures and the achievements recorded to date.

“Since (the implementation of the ERP in) 2013,…we have met all quarterly targets that were set (by the IMF) for us,” he noted.

Mr. Rowe said that, as an independent committee, the EPOC meets monthly to “discuss and share perspectives” on the performance of Jamaica’s economy “against the IMF’s targets.”

“In so doing, it helps to provide insights that governments, up to now, would not have typically received…because it is the private (and) public sectors working in unison for a common good,” he added.