The Government of Jamaica has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to improve the nation’s financial and fiscal resilience that will help to safeguard against losses during natural disasters.
The MoU was signed recently by Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. Nigel Clarke and Assistant Administrator for the Latin America and Caribbean Bureau, USAID/Washington, Mr. John Barsa.
The MoU, in part, involves a US$5 million support from USAID to the Government of Jamaica, which will help offset cost due to natural disasters.
The MoU is also geared towards ensuring that Jamaica can mitigate financial risks from disasters.
Dr. Clarke applauded the initiative and expressed the Government’s interest in continued partnership and relationship with the USAID, which has been established over the years.
“The Government of Jamaica has had a very long relationship with USAID, with our first agreement signed in 1963, which makes the USAID one of our longest relationships in the development space,” the Minister said.
He further said, “We know only too well that one disaster, for which we are unprepared, can erase all the gains that we have worked so hard to achieve…The Government of Jamaica, in light of that reality, is taking a forward look and strategic approach to ensure that we address the risk to our public finances that natural disasters present.”
Additionally, Dr. Clark posited the view that a strategic preventive policy will best position the country to deal with natural disaster emergencies.
“We’re working towards the adoption of a policy on the public financial management of natural disaster risks, and that policy will speak to the measures that we’ll be taking before the emergence of a natural disaster event, to ensure that we have resources other than budgetary resources to draw upon, in the event of a natural disaster,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Barsa said the USAID is looking towards working with the Government to achieve the goals outlined.
“Jamaica’s exposure to natural disasters can put all of these accomplishments at risk, be it from a hurricane, earthquake, or any other unplanned natural disaster. There is fragility in terms of what we have here, and planning is essential,” Mr. Barsa said.
“We have all heard that ‘you should save something for a rainy day.’ As we all know, being in the Caribbean, a rainy day could be of hurricane proportions, but preparing ahead of time, we can mitigate losses and speed up recovery,” he added.
Edited by Jesus Chan
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