Gov't receives $6.8 billion in budgetary support from EU
THE Government has received approximately $6.8 billion (¤48.134 million) in budgetary support from the European Union (EU), which will assist in the implementation of various development programmes.
Provision is being facilitated through a grant agreement, which the Government and EU officials signed yesterday during a ceremony at the Ministry of Finance and Planning in Kingston.
The disbursements include $1 billion for the disaster rehabilitation (Tropical Storm Nicole rehabilitation programme); $1.7 billion towards the Debt Reduction and Growth Enhancement Programme; and $4.1 billion towards the sugar sector reform programme.
Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips, who signed the agreement with Head of Delegation of the EU in Jamaica Ambassador Paola Amadei, thanked the EU for providing financial support to the Government as it goes through its economic reform programme.
He also recognised the role played by Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller who has recently returned from an official visit to Brussels for the European Development Days, noting that her visit and bilateral meetings were instrumental in finalising the latest disbursements.
Phillips said the provision is particularly important "as it is absolutely critical for us in meeting some our targets overall, with respect to our economic reform programme and the Extended Fund Facility.
"This flow of funds has been made possible because we have reconstituted our relationship with the (International Monetary Fund) and that has, in a sense, unlocked the flow of funds from the European Union," he noted. Phillips also pointed out that these are grant funds which do not add to the debt exposure of Jamaica.
Agriculture and Fisheries Minster Roger Clarke also extended gratitude to the EU, noting that the ministry has been making good use of the organisation's support.
For her part, Ambassador Amadei said that the 2013 budget support figures bring the total disbursement under EU budget support operations since 2008 to ¤178 million or J$25.5 billion.
She commended the Government for its commitment to macro-economic stability policies and its effort towards Public Finance Management (PFM) Reform.
"Contrary to what critics of budget support might say, budget support is an instrument, which supports the country's own development policy, keeping maximum ownership and flexibility," Ambassador Amadei said.
She wished the Government further success in the administration of its economic reform programme and encouraged efforts to stimulate growth, so that ordinary Jamaicans can see more concretely the benefit of the sacrifices imposed by the programme.
Ambassador Amadei also noted that 2013 has seen an unprecedented number of new programmes approved for Jamaica, which will translate into concrete results in the next few years.
"These programmes span different sectors, from health to trade facilitation, from improvement of social infrastructures to support to the sugar sector, all amounting to over $14 billion," she said.