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IMF loan sparks intense debate in Saint Lucia's Parliament

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Contact: Chris Satney 


Thursday, August 27, 2009 – Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Honourable Stephenson King has officially tabled the motion in the House of Parliament for authorisation to borrow the much talked about US$10.7 million from the International Monitory Fund (IMF).


The funds are being accessed under the rapid access component of the exogenous shocks facility, to help Saint Lucia weather the effects of the global economic crisis and to assist government with its recovery efforts.


In granting the loan to the government of Saint Lucia, IMF officials have noted, the implementation of prudent policies, together with support from the international donor community, will help position St. Lucia for a solid recovery once the global recession bottoms out. 


 “If the IMF did not have confidence in this administration, they would not have offered us the facility. So this motion is merely attempting to seek and access the funds which are being offered at very concessionary rates of 0.5 percent,” said the minister of finance.


The motion to borrow the money from the IMF sparked much debate in the house of Parliament on Tuesday, with opposition members of parliament questioning government’s prudence in undertaking the IMF loan.


However, Prime Minister King reiterated that that there were no frightening or stringent conditions attached to the IMF funding.


“There are no specific conditions associated to this loan, except government’s continued commitment to sound Micro Economic Policies, particularly policies to address the exogenous shock.    Thus far government's response to the global economic and financial crisis has been bold and wide-ranging. Our fiscal programme for this financial year aims at maintaining Micro Economic Stability, while protecting the most vulnerable in our society with measures to increase our tax intake and control expenditure,” said Prime Minister King.


A recent IMF report indicated that officials from the International Monitory Fund are confident that authorities in Saint Lucia will be committed to placing public debt on a downward path, and to fostering the private sector by improving the business environment and infrastructure.

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