JAM | May 9, 2023

Finance Ministry to engage in public consultation series on national natural disaster risk policy

/ Our Today

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Ministry of Finance and the Public Service (MOFPS) is set to engage thousands of Jamaicans in a series of public consultation fora on the Government of Jamaica‘s (GOJ’s) national natural disaster risk financing (NNDRF) policy.

The public consultation series begins next Monday (May 15) starting at the Old Police Station (50 Main Street) May Pen, Clarendon from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

The NNDRF Policy is the GOJ’s guide to disaster risk financing, aimed at minimising the fiscal impact of disasters on the national budget, the economy and society. It also serves to ultimately enhance the country’s economic resilience to natural disasters.

The first of four sessions, which will give average Jamaicans an opportunity to voice their opinion, concerns and questions on the policy.

Trevor Anderson, principal director of the Fiscal Policy Management branch says the policy acts as an insurance coverage for Jamaica in the case of natural hazards including weather events and earthquakes.

He added, “The advent of this policy is a game changer for the National Budget, as the risk of significant slippages, arising from a natural disaster, has been mitigated through the use of financing instruments”.

Anderson further noted that, “Disasters such as Hurricane Gilbert in 1988, not only resulted in loss of lives and property, it also negatively impacted the fiscal accounts, resulting in a higher debt burden.”

With such disasters at the forefront of the policy, it will serve as a tool to address deficiencies in how the budget responds to the impact of natural disasters as well as promote a risk-layering approach to Disaster Risk Financing (DRF) that facilitates access by the GOJ to one or several pools of resources based on the severity of the natural disaster.

The town centre of Cave Valley, St Ann inundated by rains associated with Tropical Storm Ida as it passed sections of Jamaica on August 26, 2021. (Photo: Twitter @JamaicaConstab)

In addition, to building financial and disaster risk resilience, the policy also addresses the budgeting process for disaster risk financing as well as building institutional capacity for disaster risk financing.

The ministry is set to host public consultation sessions at William Grant Park, downtown Kingston on May 17 in Sam Sharpe Square, St James on May 24.

Additionally, the public consultation sessions will culminate on May 26, in Mandela Park, Half-Way Tree. All sessions will commence from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

This NNDRF Policy represents Jamaica’s enhanced financial resilience with respect to addressing the aftermath of natural disasters.


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