The IMF Executive Board has approved the request of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) for emergency financing assistance of about US$16 million to help address the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The pandemic has hit St. Vincent and the Grenadines hard. Tourism receipts have dried up, as tourism arrivals have come to a complete halt,” the IMF said on Wednesday.
IMF support will help cover some of these needs and allow the government to ease the impact on the population including increased spending and health and social protection.
The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a disbursement to SVG following its request under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) mechanism, for SDR (special drawing rights) 11.7 million (US$16 million), to help cover its balance of payment and fiscal needs stemming from the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The disbursement is set at the maximum available access under the RCF instrument of 100% of quota.
“St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a small state, vulnerable to external shocks, including large natural disasters…
“The economy is now projected to contract by 5.5% —7.8 percentage points below pre-COVID-19 projections. A drop in fiscal revenues, combined with additional direct health and social expenditures, will increase the fiscal deficit and financing needs. IMF support will help cover some of these needs and allow the government to ease the impact on the population,” the IMF said in a press statement.
Following the Executive Board discussion of the requests, Tao Zhang, deputy managing director and acting chair, said:
“The COVID-19 pandemic poses a major challenge to St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The tourism sector, a key driver of economic growth in the country, has come to a complete halt with ripple effects across the economy. Lower tourism receipts and remittance inflows, coupled with decreased foreign direct investment, have given rise to an urgent balance of payments need. The authorities also face large fiscal needs to immediately increase public health spending and support the most vulnerable.
“The authorities have responded to the pandemic by swiftly implementing containment measures and a fiscal package, which includes an increase in funding for the health sector, various public construction projects to generate jobs, financial support to agriculture and fishery sector, and programs to support displaced workers and the most vulnerable.
“The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) also took measures to facilitate the provision of credit and safeguard financial stability. The ECCB and national supervisors are also working closely and keep intensified monitoring of financial sector vulnerabilities.
“The authorities are committed to meeting the regional debt target of 60 percent of GDP by 2030. Once the crisis has abated, they plan to reprioritize capital spending, contain the growth of the wage bill, enhance taxpayer compliance, and rationalize exemptions from import duties and VAT on imports.
“IMF emergency support under the Rapid Credit Facility will help fill St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ balance of payments needs. Fund financing will also help catalyze additional donor support. The authorities are committed to ensuring transparency and good governance in the use of COVID-19-related spending.”
Oh my! Who here will be getting all these moneys borrowed for COVID 19 relief? Will we ever see the spending Accounts? And how are we going to pay back these lenders? CBD lends $11, IMF $16. Looks like those Pigs, Lumber and Cement would sure be available for some this year after all!
I hope that the opposition goes on the record against this. Gonsalves should not be given any financial assistance because he doesn’t know how to handle money responsibly. Surely the ULP profiteers are going to line their pockets. When the pay-back time come they will want to kill people with high taxes just so they can have their way, which IS THE WRONG WAY.
( too bad Kenton won’t publish this. Kenton, A newspaper is supposed to be an objective account of history in real-time. You are supposed to publish everything so future generations don’t think we just sat by and let these ULP people ruin the country)
“I want to say I remains to do the work of Maurice Bishop”
I keep thinking how Maurice Bishop in Grenada wanted to keep two sets of books so as they could commit fraud against the IMF, World Bank, and also those that bought the country’s bonds. That is recorded in the Central Committee minutes and is recorded as part of history.
Then along comes another politician in SVG and says “I want to say that I remains to do the work of Maurice Bishop”
Wow! that will be a boost for the retirement fund.
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