Sagicor CEO Lauds Economic Reform Programme

Story Highlights

  • Sagicor Life Jamaica Limited’s President is voicing support for Jamaica’s economic reform programme
  • The programme, he says, will ensure that targeted structural reforms
  • The conference, held under the theme: ‘Jamaica’s Economic Programme – Going for Growth, Staying the Course’

Sagicor Life Jamaica Limited’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Richard Byles, is voicing support for Jamaica’s economic reform programme (ERP) currently being implemented by the government.

The programme, he says, will ensure that targeted structural reforms, stipulated under the US$932.3 million four-year Extended Fund Facility (EFF), which the government negotiated with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), are implemented.

Speaking recently at the first of two major economic reform programme (ERP) stakeholders’ conferences, held at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston, Mr. Byles noted several of the programme’s provisions, which he contended, “have all eluded us in the past.”

Some of these, he said, include: a fiscal framework that safeguards the economy against excessive, unnecessary expenditure; comprehensive tax reform; achieving a minimum primary fiscal surplus; public sector reform; and implementation of reforms to make it easier to do business.

“I think that if you did a survey of how Jamaicans perceive the economic reform programme, better known as the IMF Programme, most responses would describe it as tough, impossible, wicked, ‘can’t help me’. The word opportunity would not occur in those remarks,” the Sagicor head argued.

Mr. Byles, who also co-chairs the Economic Reform Oversight Committee (EPOC), established by the Finance Ministry to monitor the progress of the reform implementation process, argued that the priority focus is to convince more people “that the pain is worth it”. Additionally, he said, for them to “keep their eyes on the prize”, as a source of “inspiration and commitment” and to “draw more and more confidence with each achievement”.

“I’m not saying it won’t be tough and that there won’t be bumps in the road as we go along. But in the end, it will deliver a better economy. For that reason, I strongly, support it and I recommend that we all do,” Mr. Byles stated.

The conference, held under the theme: ‘Jamaica’s Economic Programme – Going for Growth, Staying the Course’, is the first of two scheduled to provide updates on the government’s economic reform programme being implemented as a condition of the US$932.3 million four-year Extended Fund Facility (EFF), which the administration  negotiated with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

It was attended by a wide cross section of representatives from private and public sector agencies and entities, and community organisations, in parishes spanning the counties of Middlesex and Surrey.

A similar forum is scheduled for parishes in western Jamaica, on a date to be scheduled.

JIS Social