Jamaica to improve transparency of public investment projects with investment map

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Jamaica is to launch an investment map aimed at making public investment projects more transparent and, ultimately, more efficient.

The investment map, which is an initiative of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is to be ready by the latter half of the 2019/20 fiscal year.

This was disclosed by Project Director in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, Othneil Hemans, during a luncheon at the Eighth Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference on Monday.

The event is being held at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston, under the theme 'Jamaica and the Diaspora: Building Pathways for Sustainable Development'.

Hemans informed that the initiative is regarded as a key tool to push growth and development across Latin America and the Caribbean.

“The investment map is an IDB initiative that helps the Government to track use of resources through a geo-referencing platform. It has been implemented in half a dozen countries across Latin America and the Caribbean. These are at varying stages of development. Jamaica took the leap in 2018, where we saw that this initiative would indeed be a worthwhile one for us to pursue,” Hemans said.

He noted that the actual platform has already been created, adding that a prototype has been developed “and we have advanced to an online platform that is now available”.

“We are now in the crucial stage of improving the quality of information that flows from the Government on to the platform. The investment map is only as good as the information that is placed or fed into [it],” Hemans said.

“So, we are taking the time to work with the project managers and the Ministries to review the quality of the data, to ensure that once the platform is launched to the public, it is without question,” he added.

In terms of benefits, Hemans said the initiative will improve the quality of information for decision-making in project allocation.

“Our elected officials and technocrats will have a portfolio view of all government capital projects being executed. A minister will be able to know what particular investment projects, what road projects or housing projects are actually existing within their particular locale,” he noted.

“We will see improvement in project monitoring, and the platform allows us to comply with internal standards and some of the agreements we are a part of, such as the open data charter. The platform will allow for open public expenditure data being provided to citizens,” he added.

Hemans informed that the investment map will focus, in the first stage, on central government projects and that the second phase will include information on public bodies.

“We will go further to include information from projects that are public–private partnerships and any other type of unsolicited proposals that might come and are part of the capital landscape of the Government of Jamaica,” he noted.


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