JIS News

The European Commission (EC) has approved just over $217 million (Euros 1.9 million) for disbursement to assist the Government with the budgetary impact and infrastructure repairs resulting from Tropical Storm Gustav in 2008.
Another $230m (Euros 2 million) is to be allocated to projects designed to alleviate the suffering caused by the storm and its aftermath.
Gustav caused 15 deaths and left approximately US$210 million (approximately J$19 billion) in damage when it hit Jamaica on August 28, 2008.
The $217 million is being allocated through the EC’s budget support programme, direct to the Jamaican treasury. It aims to reduce poverty and minimise the risks to Jamaica’s economic reform process due to disaster related expenditures.
The expected results of the programme include facilitating a smooth rehabilitation period, minimising the effects of related public expenditures on fiscal deficit and public debt, and maintaining social expenditure at adequate levels. The Financing Agreement for the release of the funds was signed between the EU and the Government in May, and the funds are expected to be released this month
Head of the Delegation of the European Commission Ambassador Marco Mazzocchi Alemanni has described the release of the funds as “very timely”, given that the 2009 Hurricane Season commences in June.
“The EU understands that it is almost impossible for any Government to be fully prepared in the event of natural disasters. It is with that in mind that we have made it flexible .to reinforce the budget when the Government has to spend more than was expected due to unforeseen circumstances,”he said.
This is not the first time the European Commission has assisted the Jamaican Government following a natural disaster. After Hurricane Dean, 2007, the Commission provided a grant of Euro 7.5 million in direct non-targeted budget support.

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