Sat | Mar 23, 2019

EPOC co-chairman touts gov't policy targeting inflation

Published:Saturday | September 22, 2018 | 1:41 PM
Co-chairman of EPOC Keith Duncan

Co-chairman of the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC) Keith Duncan is backing the government’s latest policy move to target inflation touting, suggesting that it will protect pensioners and savers.  

Duncan, who was speaking at a forum hosted by the Finance Ministry at the Jamaica College Auditorium in St Andrew yesterday, noted that Jamaica has had a lengthy period of high inflation.

“How we keep inflation under control? Shouldn’t it be the focus of the government to ensure that we preserve the purchase power of people?,” Duncan, questioned.

Duncan, who is also Group Chief Executive Officer of the JMMB Group, said inflation targeting is a key deliverable under the reform programme now being undertaken by the government.

“Tek yuh eye offa the exchange rate because that is something that is going to keep moving up and down – appreciate, depreciate – but the key thing that we need to be watching is the inflation number because that is what hurt us in our pockets,” the EPOC co-chair stressed.

He said such a policy needed to be entrenched through having an independent central bank.

Duncan argued it was necessary for the central bank to be given the mandate to manage inflation, taking it out of the hands of politicians.

While labelling the move as “standard practise”, he pointed out that many first world countries have gone that route.

A bill that seeks to create an independent Bank of Jamaica is expected to be tabled in Parliament next month by Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke.

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