Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Dr. Keith Mitchell was due to fly out on Wednesday for Washington to attend important meetings with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank in connection with the much-talked about self imposed Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP).
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Timothy Antoine, will accompany the Prime Minister to the meetings expected to last until Saturday.
Addressing reporters at last week’s post-Cabinet press briefing, Minister for Agriculture, Roland Bhola told reporters that the meetings would focus on the SAP, which is aimed at addressing the severe fiscal situation facing the country.
“Those meetings are to look at the development agenda for Grenada, but for the region as a whole, but in particular both financial institutions would be discussing the issue of talking to their Boards sometime in May, the issue of the monies that we are expecting to flow to us in this country as a result of the implementation of the Structural Adjustment Programme,” he said.
Bhola stated that during the meetings both Prime Minister Mitchell and PS Antoine would engage in “in-depth discussions” with IMF and World Bank officials in order to get a better understanding of the situation because sometime between May and June, the island should start receiving and feeling the effect of the funding that was promised as part of the Homegrown Programme.
“We believe from all of the communication we have had from both institutions – World Bank and IMF, inclusive of the Caribbean Development Bank as well and the European Union, that between May and June we should start receiving and feeling the effect of the funding that was promised to us,” Bhola said.
Grenada is to draw down US $21.9 million for development purposes as a result of an agreement with the IMF.
The Mitchell-led administration in St. George’s has said that the IMF agreement could see the island receive up to US$100 million in grants and soft loans from the World Bank, Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) US$30 million and substantial grant aid from the European Union to aid the island’s ailing economy.
The final decision on funding for the fiscal package for Grenada is expected to be taken by the IMF Board of Directors.