IMF Concludes Antigua Review Mission


Above: Antigua (Photo: AT)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

The International Monetary Fund recently concluded its seventh stand-by arrangement review mission to Antigua and Barbuda.

The mission, which was led by Geoffrey Bannister, took place from Aug. 14 to Aug. 24, and included meetings with Antigua Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer, Finance Minister Harold Lovell, Tourism Minister John Maginley, senior officials and members of the private sector, among others.

While the mission is reviewing information to determine Antigua’s compliance with performance criteria on its overall fiscal balance, the continuous performance criterion on external arrears was breached “by a very small amount,” according to a statement from Bannister.

That was reportedly due to a delay in loan payments of less than a month. All other performance criteria on domestic and external debt and arrears were met, Bannister said.

Revenue performance has also been “as envisaged under the programme,” which was first approved by the fund’s executive board in June 2010.

Antigua and the IMF are discussing a draft memorandum on economic and financial policies that maintain the fiscal targets and financial and structural benchmarks for 2012 2013.

The mission also discussed policies that could generate “sustainable medium-term growth, mitigate risks to fiscal consolidation and debt sustainability and strengthen the financial sector,” Bannister said.

“The authorities have reiterated their strong commitment to the policies and objectives of their Fiscal Consolidation Programme, and to recognize the importance of strong macroeconomic, financial and structural policies in achieving the goals of their National Economic and Social Transformation Plan,” Bannister said. “Continued strong implementation of the programme will lay the foundation for fiscal sustainability and financial stability, which are key to achieving long-term economic growth.”

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