JIS News

Prime Minister Bruce Golding, has expressed Government’s appreciation for the J$2-billion (18.625 million Euros) grant from the European Union, which was handed over today, to be paid directly into the treasury through the EU’s ongoing Budget Support Programme.
Speaking at the official handing over ceremony at Jamaica House on Thursday March 26, Mr. Golding said the grant was a significant contribution to the Government’s economic programme. He said it was coming at a strategically important time at the close of the 2008-2009 budget, which will enable Government to meet some of the challenges and obligations that the current economic situation has imposed.
Two-thirds of the funds are the first and second tranches of the debt reduction and growth enhancement programme which is a critical part of the assistance being provided by the European Union. Mr. Golding said the programme is aimed at assisting the Government in critical areas of debt containment, fiscal accountability management, the divestment of state resources, tax reform and the improvement to the quality of education at the primary and secondary levels.
The other 6.125 million Euros represents the variable tranche under the support to the sugar cane sector from the Accompanying Measures for Sugar Protocol Countries 2007 allocation and is linked to targeted countries in respect of the sugar sector.
Head of the Delegation of the European Commission, Ambassador Marco Mazzochi-Alemanni, said this disbursement has been made possible due to real achievements by the Government in macro economic management of the economy.
“This disbursement is also made possible because of progress made in the sugar policy under the leadership of the Minister of Agriculture, Dr Christopher Tufton. Governments and international partners are scaling down their activities amidst the challenging economic times but the EU is keeping its promises in Jamaica and worldwide”, the EU Ambassador noted.
“If we keep our promises and commitment in such difficult time, we look forward to your continued commitment. Crisis time is a time of opportunity… therefore we are looking to an accelerated pace of reform in the areas of financial reform, sugar divestment, security and justice. On that basis you can rest assured that during 2009, we will continue our support”, Ambassador Mazzochi- Alemanni said.
Other Government Ministers participating in this morning’s ceremony included Minister of Finance Audley Shaw and Agriculture Minister Dr Christopher Tufton who expressed appreciation for the relations between the EU and the Government.

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