(From left) Ricard Byles, Governor, Bank of Jamaica, Minister of Finance, Dr Nigel Clarke, with, Keith Duncan, EPOC Chairman and Howard Mitchell, President of the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica at the signing ceremony between the Ministry and EPOC to extend the domestic monitoring of Jamaica’s Economic Reform Programme. The ceremony was held at the Ministry’s Heroes Circle offices on Thursday, August 22, 2019 – Ricardo Makyn photo
The Government of Jamaica on Thursday, August 22, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC) to continue monitoring the country’s IMF Arrangement that ends November.
EPOC has developed a reputation of credible, non-partisan oversight of the programmes with the International Monetary Fund stretching more than six years across administrations of both political parties.
The MOU signed Thursday extends domestic monitoring of Jamaica’s Economic Reform Programme beyond the end of the Precautionary Stand-By Arrangement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Ultimately EPOC will be replaced by a Fiscal Council to be established by Parliament and a modernized more independent Central Bank.
Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr Nigel Clarke, stated, “The Government is far advanced in enacting legislation to modernize the Bank of Jamaica, inclusive of institutionalizing 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. Today we commit to empowering EPOC to continue in a monitoring role until our Central Bank and Fiscal Council policy commitments are operationalized.”
Jamaica is set to successfully complete the Precautionary Stand-By Arrangement with the IMF in November 2019.
This will conclude approximately six and a half years of successful programme engagement with the IMF, including the Extended Fund facility that ended November 2016.
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.
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.