Finance Minister — Jamaica Faces Crisis Of A Lifetime

Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. Nigel Clarke, said the Government would be focused on economic recovery as the country continues to deal with the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Jamaica faces, like much of the world, the greatest crisis of our lifetime, and so the first priority of the Government is going to be to ensure that we can absorb the effects of the crisis and bounce back stronger, bounce back through economic recovery… to an expansion of economic activity once more,” he said.

Dr. Clarke made his remarks after taking the oath of office during a ceremony at King’s House recently.

He was among four Ministers sworn in by Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen.

The others are Minister of National Security and Deputy Prime Minister, Dr. Horace Chang, Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. Christopher Tufton, and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith.

Dr. Clarke told the press that the Government would be seeking to maintain macroeconomic stability and strengthen institutions that safeguard stability.

He also stated that the Bank of Jamaica (Amendment) Act would be tabled when Parliament resumes.

“That legislation came through a Joint Select Committee. One of the first orders of business is going to be the tabling of that legislation and to have it go through its stages in Parliament. We are going to bring a Bill to put in place a Fiscal Council to strengthen Jamaica’s fiscal responsibility framework, and we are going to pursue the strengthening of our disaster risk framework, to provide fiscal protection in the event of natural disaster,” he noted.

“We will be further capitalizing our Contingencies Fund over the course of this term and with the help and assistance of our multilateral partners, such as the World Bank, procuring catastrophe insurance in the event of a natural disaster,” he added.

The Finance and the Public Service Minister said that the Government would continue to provide financial support to individuals and firms affected by the pandemic.

Yvad Billings, Readers Bureau, Contributor

Edited by Jesus Chan

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