A senior official of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Wednesday, that member countries of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) facing financial constraints will have to pre-prioritise their spending and rely on concessional borrowing to support their needs related to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Addressing the virtual fifth sitting of the OECS Assembly, the Deputy Director in the IMF’s western hemisphere department, Dr Nigel Chalk said he was also indicating that given the large economies of scale, regional collaboration is essential to ensure sufficient vaccine supply and distribution in the sub-region.
“The regional approach adopted by the OECS to acquire vaccines from international partners is highly commendable,” he said.
“Countries facing financial constraints will also have to pre-prioritise their spending and rely on concessional borrowing to support their COVID-related needs.”
Chalk noted that a careful rebalance of micro-policies will be needed to ensure sustainable growth as the economies recover.
The IMF official told government and opposition legislators from Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, St. Kitts & Nevis, Montserrat, Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands, as well as the French islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe that a recently-published IMF report on the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU), a number of policies had been recommended for the sub-region to tackle the crisis.
“There is the need to maintain fiscal support in the near term and shift resources to critical COVID related spending,” he said. “There is need to strengthen regional and national frameworks to safeguard the viability of the region.”
Chalk said the capacity of the financial institutions to weather the pandemic must be strengthened and comprehensive crisis management plans put in place in case things go awry.
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Mr. Chalk is recommending strengthening the banks so that they can prioritize “critical covid related spending”. He also commended the OECS for “acquiring vaccines from international partners”.
Follow the money and there you will find the crook hiding in plain sight.. the IMF!!
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