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The Government of Jamaica yesterday (Dec. 7) received $886 million in macroeconomic budgetary support from the European Commission (EC), under the Support to Economic Reform Programme (SERP III).
Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. Omar Davies, speaking at the signing ceremony held at his offices in Kingston, informed that this money constituted the third and final tranche of a budgetary support grant under the 30 million Euros SERP III programme.
He said that the first tranche of $833 million was paid to the government in September 2004, and a second amount of $231 million, was disbursed in December 2005.
Jacques Stakenborg, Charge d’Affaires, Delegation of the EC in Jamaica, noted that the amount of this final disbursement was determined by Jamaica’s performance in key socio-economic areas such as health, education, poverty reduction and public finance management. These indicators, he said, were part of Jamaica’s socio-economic medium term policy framework for 2004-2007.
“These targets have been discussed and agreed with the European Commission and other international development partners. In order words, what we do, through budgetary support, is to provide an incentive for Jamaica to pursue and implement its own development policy. This is not a tied aid.the government will manage these funds according to its own priorities,” Mr. Stakenborg explained.
He stated that the EC and other international development partners intended to work closely with the government to monitor and implement the country’s medium term policy framework.
“The EU, together with the other international development partners, will play its part fully in the assessment of the progress achieved and in considering the ways to tackle the challenges ahead. We are encouraged by the government of Jamaica’s intention to establish a new (medium term policy framework) after 2007,” he added.
Meanwhile, Dr. Davies explained that the SERP III programme came about as a result of the discontinuation of the International Monetary Fund’s staff monitored programme. He expressed appreciation for the EC’s budgetary support.
“The decision by the European (Commission) not only to continue support, but support within the framework of a programme developed by the government of Jamaica for itself, with its own targets and targets not only related to economic indicators, but social indicators.has facilitated a greater freedom in terms of the allocation of the resources within the context of the expenditure budget,” he stated.
The European Union has provided over $8 billion in budgetary support to Jamaica since 2000.