Jamaica signs agreement with IDB

KINGSTON, Jamaica – (JIS) Jamaica’s
Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Audley Shaw, has signed a US$1.6 million grant agreement, with the President of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Luis Alberto Moreno, under the IDB’s Programme to Implement the External Pillar of the Medium Term Action Plan for Development (PRODEV).

The signing took place at the Ministry’s headquarters in Kingston, Thursday (June 5). PRODEV is an IDB initiative that encompasses a series of specific actions to enhance the effectiveness of the Governments of the region and allow them to achieve better results in their development interventions.

Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Audley Shaw, (centre) in the process of signing a US$1.6 million grant agreement with President of the Inter-American Development Bank, Luis Alberto Moreno (right) at the Ministry’s headquarters in Kingston on June 5. At left is Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry, Senator Don Wehby.

Mr. Shaw noted that the loan will be used for the ‘Programme to Support the Implementation of the Government’s Medium Term Action Plan to Manage for Results.’. “When we say ‘manage for results,’ we are talking about looking at the entire management system; how do we manage better, how do we get value for money,” he explained.

The grant will focus primarily on: enhancing the accountability framework; improving the linkages between planning and budgeting; setting the basis for the modernization of the public procurement and financial management information systems, which would include Fiscal Services Limited (FSL); improving institutional programme monitoring and evaluation systems; and capacity building and dissemination.

“This grant is part of an enhanced programme that we are developing with the IDB. Over the past several months, I have already signed two loan agreements with the IDB one for US$10 million, which had to do with hurricane damage, the other was the policy-based loan having to do with our competitiveness programme, including our tax reform initiative, for US$30 million,” the Finance Minister informed.

He noted that during the remainder of the fiscal year, other loans amounting to US$90 million would be procured, which would deal with education reform, youth development, public finance management and transport infrastructure. “The total loan agreement for this fiscal year will amount to US$130 million,”
Mr. Shaw added.

The Minister informed also that other major initiatives would be embarked on, including tackling the problem of debt. “We are looking at that (debt) in a more global way to see how all of our partners, multilateral partners, the IDB, the World Bank, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and importantly, the private sector; how everyone can come together in a sort of wholistic solution,” Mr. Shaw noted.

Mr. Moreno noted that the grant agreement was one way of showing Jamaican citizens how their taxes are utilized. “In as much as the Minister wants all Jamaicans to contribute more with their taxes, he realizes also that people want to see their taxes at work.you have to focus on the quality of expenditures, you have to focus on how Government not only spends, but how effective is that expenditure, and this is exactly what we are doing today,” Mr. Moreno noted.

“This is one of the building blocks of the kinds of loans that the Minister was speaking about that the IDB will be doing with Jamaica, because we, like all Jamaicans, want to see those funds put to good use. What we have been doing in working with the Government of Jamaica, is to begin to find ways on one hand to better manage the high level of debt that exists in Jamaica and secondly to be able to lower the cost of that debt,” the IDB President further noted.

He thanked the Minister for the hospitality he had shown him and his colleagues. “I really want to thank you for embracing us the way you have. It makes us even more committed to the job that we are doing in Jamaica,” Mr. Moreno said.

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