New watch­dogs

Tri­par­tite com­mit­tees to mon­i­tor IMF agree­ment

Jamaica Gleaner - - FRONT PAGE - Ed­mond Camp­bell Se­nior Staff Reporter

EVEN AS the Gov­ern­ment yes­ter­day an­nounced a three-pronged ap­proach to over­see­ing the new ar­range­ment with the In­ter­na­tional Mone­tary Fund (IMF), co-chair­man of the Economic Pro­gramme Over­sight Com­mit­tee (EPOC), Keith Dun­can, is as­sur­ing Ja­maicans that he in­tends to be dili­gent, trans­par­ent and hon­est in mon­i­tor­ing the fis­cal and mone­tary in­di­ca­tors un­der the new pre­cau­tion­ary stand-by agree­ment with the Fund.

In­di­cat­ing that he would be forth­right in car­ry­ing out his du­ties, the new co-chair told The Gleaner yes­ter­day that EPOC would share with the Ja­maican pub­lic in a timely man­ner its as­sess­ment of the pro­gramme.

The board of the IMF ap­proved the pre­cau­tion­ary standby agree­ment with Ja­maica on Novem­ber 11.

Dun­can, an in­vest­ment banker who has served pre­vi­ously on EPOC, said the com­mit­tee would pro­vide, at a min­i­mum, quar­terly re­ports, but noted that he would first have di­a­logue with the other mem­bers of the com­mit­tee to work out an ar­range­ment to up­date the pub­lic on its mon­i­tor­ing of the IMF agree­ment. EPOC will be co-chaired by Bank of Ja­maica Gover­nor Brian Wyn­ter, while the other mem­bers of the com­mit­tee re­main un­changed.

Dun­can is group chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of JMMB, a fi­nan­cial com­pany with more than 200,000 clients in Ja­maica, Trinidad and Tobago, and The Do­mini­can Repub­lic.

The new EPOC co-chair’s com­ments came yes­ter­day fol­low­ing Prime

Min­is­ter Andrew Hol­ness’ an­nounce­ment of a tri­par­tite mon­i­tor­ing mech­a­nism to over­see dif­fer­ent as­pects of the new agree­ment with the IMF.

“It is very im­por­tant that the Gov­ern­ment be kept on its toes. There is no room for er­ror on the IMF pro­gramme. You play a very im­por­tant role in en­sur­ing that the Gov­ern­ment and the coun­try’s poli­cies are kept on track,” Hol­ness told Dun­can yes­ter­day dur­ing a press con­fer­ence held at the Ban­quet Hall, Ja­maica House.

Hol­ness, who ex­plained that the new agree­ment with the IMF was much broader than the pre­vi­ous Ex­tended Fund Fa­cil­ity, said the Gov­ern­ment had taken steps to deepen, broaden and di­ver­sify the mon­i­tor­ing frame­work.

“The GOJ has, there­fore, in­sti­tuted a do­mes­tic mon­i­tor­ing ar­range­ment whereby a re­con­sti­tuted and re­newed Economic Pro­gramme Over­sight Com­mit­tee will mon­i­tor im­ple­men­ta­tion of fis­cal, mone­tary and quan­ti­ta­tive per­for­mance tar­gets as set out in the Me­moran­dum of Economic and Fi­nan­cial Poli­cies (MEFP) agreed with the IMF.

“We have given great con­sid­er­a­tion to en­sure that the so­cial con­sen­sus build­ing is [as] strong as it was in the pre­vi­ous pro­gramme; it will be even stronger un­der the new pro­gramme,” the prime min­is­ter added.

Hol­ness also an­nounced the es­tab­lish­ment of the Pub­lic Sec­tor Trans­for­ma­tion Over­sight Com­mit­tee (PSTOC), which will be re­spon­si­ble for mon­i­tor­ing the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the pub­lic-sec­tor trans­for­ma­tion pro­gramme and so­cial pro­tec­tion tar­gets as set out in the MEFP.

P-STOC will be co-chaired by pres­i­dent of the Hugh Law­son Trade Union Ed­u­ca­tion In­sti­tute, Danny Roberts, and Cab­i­net Sec­re­tary Am­bas­sador Dou­glas Saun­ders.

PRO­TECT WORK­ERS’ RIGHTS

The prime min­is­ter said Saun­ders has been asked to cochair in his ca­pac­ity as head of the pub­lic ser­vice to en­sure that the rights and in­ter­ests of pub­lic-sec­tor work­ers are pro­tected in the trans­for­ma­tion process.

Roberts told The Gleaner that P-STOC has the task of mon­i­tor­ing the pub­lic-sec­tor trans­for­ma­tion process and to en­sure that the time­lines set in the IMF agree­ment are met. He said much of the com­mit­tee’s work would be sup­ported by a sec­re­tariat, not­ing that “what we need to en­sure is that we are on top of the work to find out what­ever dif­fi­cul­ties or chal­lenges that there may be and to try and use our best in­flu­ences to en­sure that those are cleared.”

He also re­minded the gath­er­ing that the Economic Growth Coun­cil would mon­i­tor the im­ple­men­ta­tion of growth poli­cies and out­comes as set out in the MEFP agreed with the IMF.

JERMAINE BARN­ABY/ FREE­LANCE PHOTOGRAPHER

Prime Min­is­ter Andrew Hol­ness (left) con­grat­u­lates Keith Dun­can (cen­tre) and Danny Roberts fol­low­ing the an­nounce­ment of the Economic Pro­gramme Over­sight Com­mit­tee (EPOC) and Pub­lic Sec­tor Trans­for­ma­tion Over­sight Com­mit­tee (P-STOC) at Ja­maica House in St Andrew yes­ter­day.

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