The Commonwealth Secretariat’s Debt Management Unit (DMU) in collaboration with the Development Bank of Jamaica Limited delivered a workshop and forum for Caribbean Public Debt Managers in Jamaica.
More than 80 delegates from over 18 countries gathered virtually and in-person at the Courtleigh Hotel and Suites in New Kingston, Jamaica, for the five-day conference to exchange information and best practices to enhance the capacity of Caribbean Small States to effectively implement Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs).
Commenting on the event, Mrs Pamella McLaren, Adviser and Head of the Debt Management Unit of the Commonwealth Secretariat, said:
“This workshop served to enlighten us as debt managers on how we can improve our engagement in the PPP process. We also learnt from the successes, challenges and lessons learnt from other jurisdictions in the Caribbean and Latin America so that debt managers can be better equipped to advise on debt management matters related to PPPs in the region.”
General Manager of Public-Private Partnerships & Privatisation at the Development Bank of Jamaica Limited, Ms Denise Arana, commented that:
“We are always keen on knowledge sharing. While PPPs are an option to fund public infrastructure, the related debt must be managed carefully. So knowing the benefits, risks and good global PPP practices provides a strong foundation for each country to build or expand its own PPP Programme. We have found that learning from the practical experiences of other countries is a good way to build capacity to successfully execute PPPs."
Many small states, including the Caribbean, are emerging from the pandemic with elevated risks of debt distress resulting from increased Government spending, reduced revenue collection, and the realisation of contingent liabilities. Under these circumstances, the stock of debt and debt servicing obligations increased to unprecedented levels, reducing the fiscal space available for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
Given these debt sustainability concerns, and in keeping with its mandate of supporting member countries’ efforts to effectively manage their debt portfolios, the DMU hosted a round of virtual discussions with country officials throughout the Commonwealth Caribbean on various debt management topics, including PPP training for DMO staff.
This workshop which took place from 27th June to 1st July 2022, was held in response to the demand for technical assistance and capacity building for the staff in the debt management offices (DMOs). The aim was to better equip them to assess, the costs and risks of PPPs more effectively and advise policy makers.
Delia Cox, Debt Management Adviser at the Commonwealth Secretariat, assigned to the Caribbean, said
“The two-part workshop was be delivered in a hybrid format over five days and targeted a regional audience from 13 Caribbean countries. Over the first three days, participants dived into various technical aspects of PPPs as a financing option and how to use the various tools available to evaluate the risks related to PPPs. The final two days of the event provided a forum where debt managers discussed key PPP issues with contributions from key stakeholders including creditors, private sector, Government, implementing partners.”
About the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Debt Management Unit
The Commonwealth Secretariat’s Debt Management Unit (DMU), through its public debt management programme, supports member countries’ efforts to effectively manage their debt portfolios. In accordance with the mission of the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Sustainable Development Goals, the programme aims to strengthen the policy framework, institutional and legal arrangements, institutional capacity and management information systems to support prudent and effective debt management in member countries. Thereby supporting the overall aim of individual member countries to achieve sustainable debt, reduce long-term debt servicing cost, manage the risk of contingent liabilities as well as risks of debt distress.
Delivery of the programme is through advisory support, capacity building and provision and support of public debt management systems including the new public debt management system, Commonwealth Meridian, that incorporates advanced and improved functionalities to address emerging debt management requirements and takes advantage of the latest state-of-the-art technologies.
About the Development Bank of Jamaica Limited
The Development Bank of Jamaica is a wholly owned Government company and it is the chief implementing agency for the Government’s PPP and Privatisation Programme. Through this programme the Government facilitates private investment, including investments by all Jamaicans, in publicly-owned entities and in providing public infrastructure and services. This allows the Government to transfer the ownership of or responsibility to manage public assets to the private sector which is better able to efficiently operate them. The DBJ also supports Jamaican businesses at all stages of the business development cycle through the provision of financing, business support services, technical assistance and a partial guarantee facility.
- Amy Coles Communications Officer, Communications Division, Commonwealth Secretariat