IMF agreement by May

Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell says the international Monetary Fund (IMF) is likely to meet and approve the island’s “Home Grown Structural Adjustment Programme” next month.

Dr.  Mitchell, who attended the annual meetings of the IMF and the World Bank in Washington, told reporters the international lending financial institution had signaled its desire to meet and approve the package early next month.

He said a senior IMF official, who is likely to chair the meeting, had met with Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Timothy Antoine, on the matter.

“He did ask Timothy to work with his team to look for a date, early, most likely in May. We were hearing, before that, they were talking about the end of May. But we were a bit nervous about that because we wanted to see the resources start flowing before the end of May,” Prime Minister Mitchell said.

“From all indications, now it looks like we will be up and running sometime early in May, which is an excellent thing for the country as a whole because given the fact that we know people are hurting in every respect, we want to start delivering on some of the programmes as early as possible,” he added.

Last month, the IMF said it had reached agreement, in principle, with the Grenada government for a three-year US$21.9-million extended credit facility to support an “ambitious programme” to correct the island’s fiscal imbalances and lift sustainable growth.

“The agreement reached with the authorities is subject to approval of the IMF’s Executive Board and is contingent upon the timely completion of prior actions to be taken by the Grenadian authorities and obtaining the necessary financing assurances,” said Aliona Cebotari, IMF mission chief to Grenada.

As a result of the IMF agreement, the government has said it would also be able to secure US$100 million in soft loans and grant funding from regional and international lending agencies.

Dr. Mitchell described his meetings in Washington as a success and that the IMF had welcomed Grenada’s structural adjustment programme.

In the past year, Grenada has not been servicing its massive national debt of EC$2.4 billion, most of it raked up during the 1995-2008 period of a previous Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) administration.

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