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Minister of Finance, Camillo Gonsalves, speaking during the estimates debate on Dec. 19, 2023.
Minister of Finance, Camillo Gonsalves, speaking during the estimates debate on Dec. 19, 2023.
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St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ public debt, as at Sept. 30, stood at EC$2,444,470,403, a 12.8% increase year-on-year.

As at Sept.30, domestic debt was EC$638.5 million or 26% of the total while external debt was EC$1.8 billion or 73.9% of the total.

Total debt service for 2024 is estimated at EC$282.9 million or 37% of current revenue, Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves told Parliament while presenting the EC$1.6 billion Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for 2024, which lawmakers approved on Dec. 20, after a debate that began the previous afternoon.

The total domestic debt, which amounted to EC$638.5 million as of Sept. 30, had increased by 15% or EC$83.5 million when compared to the same period in 2022.

The external debt for this period stood at EC$1.8 billion, an increase of 12% when compared with the year ago period.

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“The main changes with the domestic debt portfolio over that period are the balance outstanding on overdrafts owed by the public sector increased by 72%,” the finance minister told lawmakers.

He said that the local loans portfolio fell by 9.1% as a result of amortisation on a number of loans during that period, and total government bonds and notes issued and outstanding over the period increased by 8%.

Gonsalves said that as at Sept. 30, there was an EC$194 million or 12% increase in the external debt, compared with 2022.

“This increase in debt had been forecast as the government initiated multiple large projects, including the modern port, the school improvement project, the hotel developments and the National Road rehabilitation Project, all of which take advantage of concessionary lending by various parties,” the finance minister told Parliament.

He said the main drivers accounting for the change in external indebtedness of the government are the Port Modernisation Project — EC$166.5 million; the School Improvement Project (phase 1) — EC$15.3 million; the MDM Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation Programme — EC$11.3 million, all of which were finance by the Caribbean Development Bank.

In addition to these, from the World Bank, the government received, an EC$30.9 million loan for the Volcano Eruption Emergency Response Project (VEEP), for the Caribbean Regional Digital Transformation Project, EC$12.9 million, the OECS Regional Health Project EC$12.8 million and the Human Development Service Delivery project of EC$19.9 million.

From Taiwan, the government borrowed EC$20.3 million for the modern high court, the hotel development project — EC$24.3 million, the Port Modernization Project — EC$25 million, and the National Road Rehabilitation project — EC$27 million.

The government also borrowed EC$23.5 million from the CARICOM Development Fund for hotel development.

Gonsalves said that despite the larger public debt, net repayments were recorded on some IMF loans during the year to Sept. 30.

“Other notable net repayments were recorded as follows: $4.8 million repaid to Damen Shipyards; 1.3 million repaid on loans to the Kuwaiti fund $1.7 million repaid on loans to the International Monetary Fund. And those were some of the emergency borrowings in the wake of the natural disasters,” he said.

5 replies on “SVG’s public debt rises 12.8% to 2.4 billion”

  1. Hope we have enought Breadfruit and Banana to feed the Starving soon, Vincy people bettter start planting food so they can eat. $2B in debt. Lard have mercy.

  2. The public debt went from 60 million under the NDP to 2 nillion under the ULP. Would you call this proper stewardship Mr Finance minister? Even if you take out the Argyle Airport cost and the new Port project , it still shows a lack of stewardship over the nation finances. The cost to service the debt is taking away our ability to spend on critical medical care etc.

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