Antigua and Barbuda to Receive $20.3 Million from International Monetary Fund

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - June 2, 2012

Above: Parliament in Antigua

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Antigua and Barbuda will receive a $20.3 million disbursement from the International Monetary Fund, following the fund’s completion of the fourth, fifth and sixth revues of the country’s economic performance under a 36-month Stand-by Arrangement.

The funds bring disbursements under the arrangement to a total of about $61 million for Antigua.

“The economy of Antigua and Barbuda was severely hit by the global financial crisis, leading to lower government revenue, higher public sector debt and financial sector shocks,” said Min Zhu, deputy managing director and acting chair of the IMF’s Executive Board . “Despite a pickup in tourist arrivals, growth prospects remain well below their pre-crisis level.”

The IMF said that despite the economic challenges, the country’s government had continued to make progress on fiscal consolidation, particularly through expenditure control and revenue-enhancing reforms.

“Advances in debt restructuring helped reduce the public debt and debt service burden,” Zhu said. “Continued fiscal consolidation will be necessary to ensure fiscal and debt sustainability.”

The collapse of the Antigua and Barbuda Investment Bank in 2011 also contributed to the country’s economic struggles, according to the fund.

“Moving swiftly to resolve the bank in a way that adequately recognizes its capital needs and does not burden the rest of the banking system will be important to preserve the health of the financial system,” Zhu said.

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