Progress Made on Key Longstanding Issues
Georgetown, Ministry of Finance, April 5, 2021:
Senior Finance Minister Dr. Ashni K. Singh last Thursday attended and chaired the Eighth Special Meeting of the CARICOM Council for Finance and Planning (COFAP). The meeting was held virtually in accordance with the decision of the 32nd Inter-Sessional meeting of the Conference of CARICOM Heads of Government held in February 2021, which examined the supporting macroeconomic environment for the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).
Thursday’s meeting involved Ministers of Finance exchanging views on joint advocacy positions that they may wish to adopt during the upcoming International Monetary Fund (IMF) – World Bank Spring Meetings 2021. The meeting also addressed and reached agreement on a number of longstanding issues related to the CSME, including the CARICOM Policies on Credit Reporting, Deposit Insurance, Development and Regulation of the Regional Securities Market, as well as the CARICOM Financial Services Agreement and the intra-CARICOM Double Taxation Agreement.
In his opening remarks at the meeting, Minister Singh pointed out that the meeting was taking place at a time when the Region was facing unprecedented economic challenges, resulting from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which have brought into sharp focus the importance of speaking with a single unified voice on issues of shared interest at the upcoming IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings. He also highlighted the urgency with which progress is needed on many of the long outstanding issues that need to be addressed to advance the supportive architecture for the CSME, and urged that these matters be dealt with conclusively and in a timely manner.
The meeting subsequently saw significant progress made on many of these issues, and agreement was reached on the way forward with a number of the pending policies, while there was also consensus on the way forward with other items that require further discussion and consultation among Member States.
The meeting saw participation from several Prime Ministers, Finance Ministers, Central Bank Governors, and senior finance officials from around the region.