KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — The Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC) is supporting the proposed reintegration of public bodies generating significant financial surpluses into central Government.The move, which is slated to commence in July with three entities, is among nine new public sector transformation structural benchmarks contained in the revised Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies underpinning the administration’s precautionary Stand By Agreement (SBA) with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The initial shortlisted entities are the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF); Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund; and Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA).
Co-Chairman of EPOC, Keith Duncan, says it “makes a lot of sense” to reintegrate the entities, reroute their revenues into the Consolidated Fund and provide them with budgeted allocations for their operations.
“It makes no sense for us to be carrying cash surpluses in so many entities and the Government (has to be) borrowing funds (from) other entities. So the move to integrate these public bodies where applicable or suitable is welcomed by the EPOC,” he added.
He was speaking at EPOC’s quarterly media briefing at the Jamaica Money Market Brokers (JMMB) Group’s head office in New Kingston on Friday.
Meanwhile, Duncan advised that two of the new benchmarks will be monitored by EPOC.
These, he said, are Cabinet submissions for a proposed crisis resolution framework, based on the outcomes of discussions contained in a Consultation Paper, by July 31, 2017; and proposed revision of the Bank of Jamaica (BoJ) Act, in line with IMF recommendations, by August 31, 2017.
Duncan also reiterated the importance of public sector transformation in supporting the Government’s growth agenda.
“The drive to (attaining) an efficient public sector is of primary importance. Getting that wage to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) number down to nine per cent is very important to ensure that we have an efficient allocation of resources,” Duncan underscored.
Meanwhile the EPOC Co-Chairman advised that another benchmark is on course for implementation this month.
This, he indicated, is the institution of mechanisms to ensure full compliance with the provisions of the Securities Retail Repurchase Agreement.
“These regulations require that retail repos be governed by a master retail repurchase agreement that is signed by both the dealer and the client. This is to be completed by May 31 and the Financial Services Commission has indicated that we are on track,” Duncan stated.