…To compliment the work of Fiscal Council, which is also being established
Durrant Pate/ Contributor
The Government of Jamaica, in collaboration with the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona Campus, is establishing a Fiscal Research Institute within the Department of Economics.
Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke, who made the announcement, disclosed that the financing will be coming from the Government in the form of a budgetary grant, which will be extended to the campus in the amount of J$200 million as a down payment to endow the Fiscal Research Institute.
Opening the 2023-2024 Budget Debate in Parliament on Tuesday (March 7), Clarke said this grant will be followed by further endowments that establish the Institute, which will be financed from the returns on its endowment.
“I intend to secure the support of the private sector in endowing the Chair of this Institute as part of the Government’s initiative in collaboration with UWI. The Fiscal Research Institute will be a non-partisan think-thank engaged in conducting rigorous, high-level research, teaching, and training in public finance and public policy,” the finance minister told the House of Representatives.
Offerings of the Fiscal Research Institute
The Institute will offer courses in public finance and public financial management at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Clarke reported that the institute will complement the work of the Independent Fiscal Commission, which is being established with the head of the council already being appointed last week.
The Institute will analyse and inform economic and social policy decisions, particularly those involving public expenditure, taxation, and fiscal sustainability to help policymakers and the general population understand the impact of public choices on individuals, households, firms, the government’s financial position, and the overall interaction between the domestic and global economy.
Clarke argued that generations of public sector leaders will need better exposure to and training in public financial management, therefore making creation of the institute necessary at this time, noting that “the benefits of pursuing sound public financial management are so significant that it cannot be left to the Minister of Finance alone. It cannot even be left to the Ministry of Finance alone. It cannot be left to the Cabinet alone, or even the Parliament alone”.
He made the point that the Independent Fiscal Commission will be the guardian and interpreter of Jamaica’s fiscal rules and is required to monitor adherence to Jamaica’s fiscal rules and to provide independent assessments of budgetary outcomes, in addition to independent fiscal analysis.
The Commission will provide an informed second opinion on fiscal developments and is expected to play a constructive role in informing the public and, in so doing, incentivizing adherence to Jamaica’s fiscal rules.