The government’s anti-COVID-19 coffers were increased Thursday by $ 200 million (US $ 100 million) as part of a World Bank stimulus and response development policy loan.
During Tuesday’s debate in the House of Assembly on the Company bill (economic substance) (amendment)Minister of Economic Affairs Marsha Caddle revealed that the government has requested “exceptional” funding to help support the country’s response to the COVID-19 crisis and to promote post-crisis economic recovery.
The funding has a final maturity of 19 years, including a five-year grace period, and is part of a coordinated assistance effort from international financial institutions during the pandemic.
Barbados is not eligible for loans from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) – the lending arm of the World Bank that provides loans to middle-income developing countries – as it has graduated at the middle income level based on GDP per capita.
But the World Bank Group has launched exceptional IBRD funding to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tahseen Sayed, World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean, noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected Barbados, which has, however, successfully implemented its economic reform program.
âThere have been serious impacts on key sectors such as tourism, leading to increased unemployment, with disproportionate effects on women,â Sayed said. âWorld Bank assistance will contribute to the country’s efforts for a resilient and inclusive socio-economic recovery. “
The loan is intended to help improve macroeconomic and fiscal management and promote financial resilience for a sustainable recovery, according to the Washington-based international financial institution.
The World Bank said: âActions supported include adopting a COVID-19 vaccination strategy and a program that helps tourism-related sectors maintain employment. It also supports reform actions aimed at strengthening payment systems and adopting a strengthened legal framework for customs and a new law on the central bank.
But the World Bank loan has also been amended to take into account natural disasters that could slow economic development and decades-long post-COVID recovery in an era of climate change.
The loan should also help strengthen financing and disaster risk resilience policies and improve the regulation and supervision of disaster risk exposure in the insurance sector. (SOUTH DAKOTA)