GOJ, EPOC sign MOU to continue to monitor economic reform

The Government of Jamaica and the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Thursday, August 22 at the Ministry of Finance to continue to monitor the economic reform programme after the end of the IMF Precautionary Stand-By Agreement in November.

Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke (centre); Governor of the Bank of Jamaica, Richard Byles (left); and Chairman of the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC), Keith Duncan, sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to extend domestic monitoring of Jamaica’s economic reform programme by EPOC beyond the end of the Precautionary Stand-By Arrangement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The signing ceremony was held at the Ministry’s National Heroes Circle Offices on August 22. (Source: JIS; Photographer — Michael Slolely)

The Government was represented by the Ministry of Finance & the Public Service with officials joining those from EPOC in signing the MOU. The delegations were led by Minister of Finance and the Public Service Dr Nigel Clarke and Chairman of the EPOC Keith Duncan.

The MOU will last for one year. However, subsequent MOUs are expected until parliament puts in place the necessary legislation for a fiscal council as well as giving the central bank independence to implement monetary policy.

According to Clarke, when the IMF Precautionary Stand-By Agreement ends in November, the international entity has agreed with the government to have an office remain in the island to help in the transition of Jamaica’s fiscal independence.

Clarke said, “these decisions are clear demonstrations of the government’s commitment and intent to maintain a credible macroeconomic path, inclusive of a fiscal trajectory that is consistent with our fiscal responsibility framework, long into the future, providing the foundation for economic opportunity for current and future generations.”

Duncan said, “we believe it is important that this monetary mechanism continues to be in place until we are comfortable that institutional arrangements that are in place, are adequate, suitable and have sufficient capacity to be able to deliver.”