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US$135m in IDB loans untouched


SHERRYLYN TOPPIN/BGIS

US$135m in IDB loans untouched

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Barbados has not drawn down more than US$135 million in available funding from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) over the past three to five years.

This includes almost BDS$50 million that was available to fix the deplorable road network.

The island has the lowest disbursement rate (13 per cent) among Caribbean nations, but Prime Minister Mia Mottley has vowed to change that following talks with IDB president Luis Alberto Moreno and his team yesterday at Government Headquarters.

“There were five loans that were cancelled with the bank between 2016 and 2017. I am not sure how a country that needs concessional funding can engage in the luxury of having loans cancelled. We have promised that that has to be a thing of the past, that we need to be able to reposition our country,” Mottley said in a media release.

The Prime Minister explained that Barbados had a loan portfolio with the IDB of US$191 million, and US$135.7 million of that amount remained undisbursed, despite many of these loans being in place for three to five years.

She added that, as a result, at least three major loans were at risk and Government and the bank had agreed to “put them in good shape again”, even if it meant tweaking them.

“I refer to a loan to strengthen human and social development in Barbados. Ninety per cent of that remains undisbursed and that loan was signed since September 2015.

“The Road Rehabilitation Programme, which is US$25 million and US$24.7 million, remains undisbursed. In other words, we spent US$300 000 even though that loan was signed in November 2015, and I am sure Barbadians would be surprised given the state of our roads today.

“The deployment of cleaner fuels programme and renewable energy in Barbados, which is US$34 million and US$32.2 million, remains available and not disbursed, even though that loan was signed almost two years ago,” she stated.

The release added that the Prime Minister has given Minister of Economic Affairs and Investment Marsha Caddle the responsibility of getting those loans fully functional and increasing the disbursement ratio. (SAT/BGIS)

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