COFAP addresses Caribbean economies
Thursday, October 25, 2018
by Janelle Norville, GIS

A call for action with urgency prevailed at the recently-concluded sixth Special Meeting of the Council of Ministers of Finance and Planning (COFAP).

COFAP falls under the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). The meeting addressed the many issues plaguing the region, with emphasis placed on bolstering CARICOM member states’ economic positions.

The meeting was convened with the aim of advancing a number of development initiatives geared towards enhancing the use and operation of the Single Market and Economy. CARICOM’s Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, indicated that COFAP has a critical role to play in advancing the CARICOM Single Market and Economy.

“As a result of the negative impact of the financial and economic crisis over the past decade on our region, and in the pursuit of the CSME’s sustainable economic goal, a commission on the economy was established. The commission within its limitations has provided thoughtful and insightful recommendations. There is no doubt such a commission could have a continued role to play in confronting the economic situation facing our member states. However, to adequately perform its functions in light of the rapidly changing developments impacting world growth prospects, there is need to restructure the commission as a body of independent experts with a time bond mandate. The ideas of the COFAP in this regard will be instrumental in helping the commission to deliver on such a mandate,” Ambassador LaRocque said.

Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda and chair of the meeting, Hon. Gaston Browne, provided a synopsis of recommendations by COFAP, highlighting the importance of each item on the agenda. CARICOM Heads of Government have been calling for the finalization of some of the relevant instruments before the Inter-sessional meeting in February of 2019. Browne said that it is imperative that these items namely the Community Investment Policy; an investment code; an incentives régime; and an integrated capital market; start with the adoption of model securities market legislation be given the required attention.

“Our financial cooperation initiatives are therefore aimed at mobilizing financial resources within the community and attracting capital from new sources by enhancing the fiscal and investment regimes. It is against such a background that it is imperative for us to pursue urgently the efforts and advance the necessary legal measures to complete those initiatives. It is taking us far too long to finalize instruments, which have been before our councils for many years. Let us recommit to a more efficacious implementation of regional policy initiatives.”

The Council for Finance and Planning (COFAP) is responsible for economic policy coordination, financial and monetary integration of member states.