EPOC to continue domestic monitoring of Jamaica's Economic Reform Programme

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EPOC to continue domestic monitoring of Jamaica's Economic Reform Programme

Thursday, August 22, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Government today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC), extending domestic monitoring of Jamaica's Economic Reform Programme beyond the end of the Precautionary Stand-By Arrangement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr Nigel Clarke, said the Government is committing to empowering EPOC to continue in a monitoring role until the Bank of Jamaica and the country's Fiscal Council policy commitments are operationalised.

He noted that plans are far advanced in enacting legislation to modernise the Central Bank, inclusive of institutionalising independence in the implementation of monetary policy.

“We are also working to table legislation, by April 2020, to implement a Fiscal Council that will strengthen Jamaica's fiscal responsibility framework and be an independent arbiter of Jamaica's fiscal rules,” he said.

Jamaica is set to successfully complete the Precautionary Stand-By Arrangement with the IMF in November 2019, having brought the prior Extended Fund Facility arrangement with the IMF to a successful early termination in November 2016.

This will conclude approximately 6 years of successful programme engagement with the IMF.

Over this period Jamaica's debt has been significantly reduced, macro-economic stability has become entrenched, economic growth has returned and there has been substantial growth in employment.

“Given where we are coming from, the macro-economic gains that Jamaica has enjoyed over these 6 years are a Jamaican success story, recognised around the world. This success is wholly attributable to the effort and sacrifice of the Jamaican people and we owe it to the Jamaican people to preserve and build on these gains even as we work to address the other important challenges,” Clarke said.

This MOU extension with EPOC follows on the Government's agreement with the IMF to keep its office in Jamaica for two years following the end of the Precautionary Stand-By Arrangement in November.

The finance minister said: “These decisions are a demonstration of our commitment to maintaining a credible and sustainable macro-economic path, including a fiscal trajectory that is consistent with our fiscal responsibility law, long into the future that provides the foundation of economic opportunity for the current and future generations.”

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