Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. Keith Mitchell says his six-month old administration has raised $243 million in new money to finance the large gap in the country’s Budget for 2013.
Dr. Mitchell made the disclosure during the sitting of the House of Representatives two weeks ago.
He said that Grenada secured approximately $18 million from the People’s Republic of China, coupled with a US$10 million loan that was signed with the ALBA Bank of Venezuela, which would be made available to the island within two weeks.
The Prime Minister informed the House that in a recent meeting with the local Bankers Association, he was asked a direct question about Grenada’s ability to raise the $200 million needed to cover the gap in the Budget as presented earlier this year.
He said that officials of the Ministry of Finance informed the Association that already $120 million was raised for the period so far.
“When you add the $18 million plus dollars from China and the $27 million (EC from Alba) so that within another two to three weeks, government would have raised $165 million out of the $200 million”, he added.
“Mr. Speaker it is significant, you know, because this is not a simple matter because here was a government previously having to sell assets, selling all our birthrights, in fact some people were saying it looks like some of us would be sold … every month we were selling assets to pay salaries. This government, Mr. Speaker, would not have to do that”, he said.
Seven weeks after being elected into office following the February general elections, Mitchell’s New National Party (NNP) administration presented the 2013 Budget under the theme, “Restoring Hope, Building the New Economy and Empowering our People”.
Dr. Mitchell recalled during the parliamentary sitting that while in opposition, he expressed concerns to the former administration of Tillman Thomas about the lack of meetings of the Finance Committee and for the committee to meet every quarter.
He said the committee met a few weeks ago and it is his intention to hold meetings consistently throughout the year.
In addition he spoke of holding monthly meetings with the social partners – Churches, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO’s), Trade Union Movement, and the Business Community.
Dr. Mitchell described the meetings as being “extremely fruitful”, saying that they were held in an atmosphere of warmth and willingness”.
The Prime Minister reiterated that Grenada is set to make serious progress as the NNP administration continues to unify and build the country out of an understanding that as leaders, they have a responsibility first and foremost not to divide the country, but to unite it and that with unity Grenada’s untapped potential would be realised.