The Keith Mitchell-led administration in Grenada believes that it has moved one step closer to getting millions of dollars to pour into the country as part of its 3-year homegrown Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP).
The government on Tuesday announced at the weekly post-Cabinet briefing that Prime Minister Mitchell in his capacity as Minister of Finance had signed the much-talked about Letter of Intent with the Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) to trigger the process that can see up to EC$300 million flooding the country within a matter of days.
Works Minister Gregory Bowen made the disclosure to the press as he was accompanied by Minister of State for Implementation in the Ministry of Finance, Kenny Lalsingh.
Minister Bowen could not say exactly when the “Letter of Intent” was signed and with which IMF official.
However, the senior government minister announced that all plans are now on schedule for the SAP with the IMF, but the second journey now begins with the Board of Directors of the fund.
According to Bowen, the IMF governing board is expected to meet within a matter of days to take a decision on the Grenada situation and open the door for the unlocking of the promised millions.
Press Secretary to Prime Minister Mitchell, Kisha Grant-Alexander told The New Today that the “Letter of Intent” was facilitated via Internet and was signed by Dr Mitchell in his capacity as Minister for Finance last week Thursday (June 12).
The signing of the letter comes almost two months (April) after the Grenadian leader and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Timothy Antoine met with the IMF in Washington.
As a run-up to the letter, the Mitchell government was forced to institute several sweeping austerity measures in order to grapple with a deteriorating fiscal situation in the country.
The regime widened the Personal Income tax net, as well as doubled the tax on properties, imposed a 20% increase on Custom Service Levy on imported goods, and increased a number of user fees to raise additional revenue for the
During a government post-Cabinet Briefing in April, Minister for Agriculture, Roland Bhola informed the media that the ruling New National Party (NNP) administration in St. George’s was expecting millions to “flow to us in this country” based on the talks taking place with the IMF, World Bank, Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and others.
“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 some US $21.9 million for development purposes as a result of an agreement with the IMF.