Jamaica | Mar 9, 2023

Government to establish Natural Disaster Fund

Tamoy Ashman

Tamoy Ashman / Our Today

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Dr Nigel Clarke, minister of finance and the public service, making his opening contribution to the 2023-2024 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives. (Photo: JIS)

Minister of Finance Dr Nigel Clarke says the government will bring legislation to establish a Natural Disaster Fund.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, the Government used the Contingency Fund to temporarily warehouse funds for the Natural Disaster Fund and respond to the crisis, paying out benefits under the CARE Programme. The funds have since been replenished.

Clarke made the announcement during the 2023/2024 Budget Debate on Tuesday (March 7).

“We must preserve and maintain the gains of our economic recovery by adequately planning for
the risks of natural disaster,” said Clarke.

(Photo: REUTERS/Ricardo Rojas)

He added that the fund would be established “along with laws that govern when, how, and under what circumstances these amounts can be accessed. This will not be a new public body with all the attendant costs. The Natural Disaster Fund will be held in accounts at the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) and its administration will be outsourced to the BOJ”.

The Natural Disaster Fund complements the suite of fiscal instruments designed to provide
resources to Jamaica in the event of natural disasters such as a Contingent Credit Facility with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Caribbean Catastrophe Reinsurance Facility, and the Catastrophe Bond.

The Government maximised the allowable size of the Contingency Fund, established in the Constitution in 2019. The amount was increased from $100 million to $10 billion and followed by a historic capitalisation in two instalments totalling $4.6 billion.


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