Sat | Oct 31, 2020

Clarke has backup plan if economy worsens

Published:Wednesday | March 25, 2020 | 12:00 AM

If the raft of stimulus measures introduced by the Government to cushion the impact of COVID-19 on the Jamaican economy were insufficient, Finance and the Public Service Minister Dr Nigel Clarke is suggesting that the fiscal responsibility law could be suspended to deal with any dire emergencies and/or severe economic contraction.

“I want to assure the people of Jamaica that should things take a turn for the worse, beyond what we currently envisage and beyond all the economic measures we have put in place, we are prepared to invoke the clauses in the law that allow for its suspension, and that require independent verification by the auditor general, and act accordingly within the law,” the finance minister declared yesterday as he closed the 2020-2021 Budget Debate in Gordon House.

Clarke told his parliamentary colleagues that the Government would not take this action “lightly”, noting that the circumstances would have to warrant such a move. “Beyond that, let me repeat: The auditor general would be required by law to validate that the conditions as prescribed in Fiscal Responsibility Framework exist,” he said.

“It is important to put this on the table. Hopefully, we will not need it but, if we do, I want the country to be assured that Jamaica has options that many of our neighbours do not,” he added.