House approves merging PetroCaribe Fund into Consolidated Fund
Minister of Science, Technology and Energy Fayval Williams speaking in parliament.

KINGSTON, Jamaica — The House of Representatives yesterday approved a bill amending the Petroleum Act to integrate the functions of the PetroCaribe Development Fund (PDF) into Central Government.

Pursuant to a Cabinet decision, the PetroCaribe Development Fund was established as a body corporate by the Government in December, 2006, by way of an amendment to the Petroleum Act.

The body corporate was set up to manage the proceeds which accrued to Jamaica under the Energy Co-opertion Agreement PetroCaribe, between the government of Jamaica and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

The new bill has now given effect to a recent Cabinet decision to repeal that amendment of 2006, so as to reintegrate the Fund into Central Government.

Previously, the PDF received broad policy directions from the finance minister, but was largely an independent and self-financing entity, with local funds that not only serviced Jamaica's oil debt to Venezuela but could be invested mainly through loans to development projects.

It is understood that the fund pumped more than $330 billion into the local economy through project financing, equity investments and social and economic development grants.

The change in status of the PDF from a public body corporate into a central public body was included in the government's agreement with the international Monetary Fund (IMF).

Balford Henry

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