PM happy as Central Bank ends years of losses, turns profit

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Chairman of the Eastern Caribbean Monetary Council, Prime Minister Gaston Browne, is hailing the performance of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) in the last financial year.

Under the stewardship of Governor Timothy Antoine, the Central Bank recorded an EC$ 6.3 million profit after three consecutive years of losses.

Browne said, “it has shown that the recovery is taking place.”

He also said it’s an indication that the Currency Union “is performing better.”

The bank’s Annual Report and Statement of Accounts for the financial year ended 31 March 2017, characterises the 2016-2017 financial year as “a year of recovery”, with operating income increasing from $61.0 million to $77.5 million representing a 27.07 per cent increase over last year.

The growth rate in the Currency Union improved by 2.2 per cent and Browne says “the whole idea is to continue to improve the rate of growth so the central bank will achieve greater profitability.”

Browne is praising the directors and staff of the central bank for the turnaround in fortune and wants a growth rate of 5.5 per cent next year.

Governor Antoine who marked his first year in office in February, says the Bank’s profit is a particularly welcomed development after three consecutive years of losses.

He describes the ECCB’s 2016-2017 financial year as “highly successful with several highs and one major low”, that low being the passing of former Governor, the Hon Sir K Dwight Venner, in December 2016.

The Central Bank has made losses for the last three years– $18 million in 2014, $12 million in 2015 and $10 million in 2016.

The ECCB says its key achievements for the year include maintenance of the stability of the EC dollar, advancement of projects to improve access to financial services by medium, small and micro-enterprises, and forging consensus on a Plan of Action for addressing growth, competitiveness, and employment in the ECCU.

The bank says in the year is also launched an outreach programme to deepen the ECCB’s engagement with its member governments and stakeholders; and finalisation of a Strategy Plan which sets out the vision for the Bank for the next five years.

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