Above: State Minister Zhivargo Laing, IDB representative Astrid Wynter. From left, Honorary Consul-General of Japan Robert Sands and Ambassador Hiroshi Yamaguchi. (BIS Photo/Kristaan Ingraham)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
The Bahamas and Japan have signed a $612,000 technical cooperation agreement that grants the Bahamas money to help strengthen its fiscal policy.
It is the second high-profile agreement Japan has signed with a Caribbean country in the last month, following a $15 million grant for green energy in small island states signed in December.
The resources were provided by the Japan Special Fund to the Inter-American Development Bank; the Japanese government’s contributed $153,000 to the project.
The Bahamas “has maintained a record of good economic performance having a high per-capita income which is attributed to our sound management of the economy, our political stability and our close proximity to the USA,” said Zhivargo Laing, State Minister in the Ministry of Finance.
Japanese Ambassador to the Bahamas Hiroshi Yamaguchi signed the documents along with IDB representative Astrid Wynter.
Yamaguchi is also his country’s ambassador to Jamaica and Belize.
“The focus of this technical cooperation aims to support our charge towards fiscal rebalancing through improving our current system of revenue collection with particular emphasis on tax administration and also by strengthening our debt management systems,” he said.
The Japan Special Fund, which aims to promote development by borrowing member countries of the IDB, was founded by the Japanese government in 1988.
Yamaguchi said that while the Bahamas was technically classified as a rich nation, and therefore not eligible to receive technical assistance through the Japan International Cooperation Agency, the country worked hard to materialize the project with the IDB.
“I sincerely hope that this project will strongly update the capability of the Bahamian government in strengthening and further developing its economy,” Yamaguchi said.