Seven years after it was first borrowed, the controversial International Monetary Fund (IMF) debt is almost fully repaid, now standing at a little over one-tenth of its original amount.
Finance Minister, and also Prime Minister Gaston Browne, revealed to his Cabinet last Friday that the Treasury had EC$35 million dollars, of the initial EC$320 million borrowed by the previous administration, left to pay back (a figure corroborated by the IMF website).
In June 2010, in the midst of the global economic crisis and the fallout from the Allen Stanford group of companies collapse, the Baldwin Spencer-administration borrowed US $117.8 million from the IMF.
The funds were needed to recover from mounting government debt and weak economic growth, according to then-minister of finance Harold Lovell. But the agreement was criticised strongly by the then-opposition Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP).
In August 2014, in one of his first major policy decisions as Prime Minister, Gaston Browne told the IMF, at an IMF Economic Business Forum, that his new government would not enter into a second agreement with the international lender, and that he would seek to pay them back as soon as possible.
Meantime, Browne reassured Cabinet loans from bilateral sovereign partners and multilateral agencies are being paid on-time by the Treasury, even as the September 2017 hurricanes have adversely impacted revenue collection.
He predicted that tax revenues would recover, however, in the upcoming tourism season which he says will be a bumper crop for revenues and economic growth.
Advertise with the mоѕt vіѕіtеd nеwѕ ѕіtе іn Antigua!
We offer fully customizable and flexible digital marketing packages. Your content is delivered instantly to thousands of users in Antigua and abroad!
Contact us at [email protected]