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Thursday, 18 March 2010

Jamaica Government gets $2.2-billion EU grant

Jamaican government received a $2.2-billion European Union grant to offset a shortfall in earnings resulting from the closure of the island's bauxite companies last year. The grant funds, however, will not be utilised in direct assistance to the bauxite sector but will instead go to Government's budget support. Signing off on the EU assistance at the finance ministry, Head of the European Delegation Ambassador Marco Mazzocchi-Alemanni said that the grant is allocated out of an Euro 80-million facility for all African, Caribbean and Pacific countries to compensate for losses in export revenue. "The 80 million FLEX programme is available worldwide and Jamaica has got the largest portion of Euro17 million," Mazzocchi-Alemanni said.
He added that the "tremendous fallout" in bauxite earnings spurred the EU's decision regarding the level of assistance to Jamaica. FLEX, a compensation for short term fluctuations in export revenues, is an EU programme formed through a merger of other EU compensations systems worldwide. Mazzocchi-Alemanni in the meantime argued that the use of fossil fuel energy to process bauxite made it unprofitable and uncompetitive worldwide. "It is crucial for Jamaica to diversify its energy sources," Mazzochi-Alimanni commented.

Source: Jamaica Observer