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US$200m aid for Bahamas


US$200m aid for Bahamas

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NASSAU – The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says it is prepared to provide The Bahamas with US$200 million at “low cost and without policy conditionality” as it expressed confidence that the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country would be able to rebuild a ‘stronger and more resilient economy” following the destruction caused by Hurricane Dorian last September.

An IMF delegation, led by Fabian Bornhorst, has ended a five-day visit to Nassau “to take stock of economic developments after Hurricane Dorian and prepare for the 2020 Article IV Consultation, planned for March 2020”.

“Our heartfelt sympathies are with the victims of Hurricane Dorian, and with those who face the arduous task of rebuilding their livelihoods. . .”

We are confident that the people of The Bahamas will rebuild a stronger and more resilient economy.

“The IMF stands ready to support The Bahamas, including through its emergency financing facilities. Through the IMF’s Rapid Financing Instrument up to US$ 200 million could be available to The Bahamas at low cost and without policy conditionality,” Bornhorst said.

He acknowledged that the hurricane had devastated parts of Abaco and Grand Bahama, resulting in a sharp fall in tourists.

He said the Dr Hubert Minnis government appropriately activated the escape clause under the Fiscal Responsibility Law following the hurricane and that having met the fiscal target for the financial year 2018-19 “this will allow a temporary deviation from the fiscal consolidation plan to accommodate policies to support the recovery, including through tax waivers and infrastructure reconstruction expenses. “Strengthening social assistance programmes as envisaged in the supplementary budget will support the most vulnerable in rebuilding their livelihoods and those who have lost their jobs.”

The Category 5 storm tore through the archipelago on September 1, killing at least 70 people, with more than 200 missing and damage estimated at US$3.4 billion. (CMC)