European Union boosts Jamaica's disaster fund
Following a two-year break in funding in budgetary-support payments to the Jamaican Government, the European Union (EU) announced yesterday that it has now resumed disbursements.
Jolita Butkeviciene, the EU's director for development and cooperation in Latin America and the Caribbean, who made her first visit to the island this week, said a payment of $951 million, aimed at mitigating the effects of natural disasters, was made to the Government.
She said the EU had decided it would only disburse funds to Jamaica if the country attained certain benchmarks, including securing an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
"It's a way of confirming that Government has made major steps forward in complying with the conditionalities that the IMF has imposed and also has achieved good policy results," Butkeviciene said.
"I think they (IMF) have a positive view of what has been done by the Government, and they did recognise that this first part was probably the hardest, the most difficult one to be undertaken by the Government," she added.
COULD GET MORE SUPPORT
Butkeviciene said if Jamaica should fail the next IMF test, the budgetary support would be postponed again until the country gets back on track.
Butkeviciene said for the EU to continue contributing to the country's budget, certain criteria must be met. These include transparency in the budget and a demonstration of good public financial management, which requires sound economic strategy.
Jamaica passed the first quarterly test under the IMF programme and Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips said the country was on track to pass the second test, which is due at the end of this month.