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Government Achieves EGC’S Targets
KINGSTON (JIS) -- The Economic Growth Council (EGC) is reporting that the Government has met or is on track with 13 of that body’s 18 targets for March. Notable among these, EGC Chairman, Michael Lee-Chin says, is the tabling of legislation to establish the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) as an independent national law-enforcement body, as also the Bill to merge the Corruption Prevention Commission and the Integrity Commission of the Office of the Contractor General. These, he points out, are “bold structural reforms which, along with others to come, are designed to tackle corruption, reduce crime and tackle both the economic and broader social ramifications”. Mr. Lee-Chin was speaking at the EGC’s second quarterly National Report at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Regional Headquarters, Mona, St. Andrew, on April 27.
While the MOCA Bill’s tabling was welcome, Mr. Lee-Chin urged the Government to move speedily to have it enacted into law.
He also underscored the importance of the Bill to merge the Corruption Prevention and Integrity Commissions into one independent prosecutorial agency being debated in the Senate.
The Bill was passed, with amendments, in the House of Representatives in February.
“Jamaicans at every level realise that crime and violence is a constraint to achieving meaningful and sustainable growth and development. Reducing crime, therefore, is an imperative that we have to face, attack head-on and wrestle to the ground,” the Chairman underscored.
Mr. Lee-Chin said the Administration also met some March target deliverables related to improving the business climate and reducing bureaucracy.
These include expanding the size of the partial credit guarantee programme at the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ); and commencement of phased reviews of banking, insurance and pensions regulations that impact access to finance.
Mr. Lee-Chin emphasised the importance of expediting work to fulfil other targets relating to this area that were missed in March.
These, he indicated, include creating the framework for public-debt reduction through the privatisation of State assets; the preparation and submission of a plan for the divestment of up to 20 per cent of assets of the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) and Factories Corporation of Jamaica (FCJ); improving the scalability and efficiency of the privatisation, asset sale and public-private partnership processes; and the submission of a Protocol and Framework for the outsourcing of privatisations to for-profit firms.
“There are many Government assets that can be better utilised to the benefit of the country. We, therefore, urge rapid movement on the proposed plan to divest up to 20 per cent of the assets of the UDC and FCJ,” Mr. Lee-Chin underscored.
The Report, which was held one year to the date of the EGC’s establishment, featured a presentation by former Colombian President, Dr. Alvaro Uribe Vélez, who spoke on a range of domestic and global issues impacting his country.