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Saint Lucia avails itself of first tranche of IMF/ESF funds

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Contact: Rose Marie Harris


Wednesday, July 29, 2009  - The International Monetary Fund-IMF-on Monday 27th  of July, 2009, approved for Saint Lucia US$10.7 million dollars under the rapid access component of the Exogenous Shocks Facility-ESF.


Funding under this facility is expected to assist Saint Lucia in mitigating the adverse impact of the global economic and financial crisis which has to date negatively affected Saint Lucia’s economy.


The Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Honourable Stephenson King in the 2009/2010 budget address indicated that Saint Lucia will be availing itself of up to 25 percent of its quota for the ESF.    However subsequent to the announcement,  the IMF advised that Saint Lucia would be eligible to 45 percent of its quota, which amounts to 6.89 million Euros, or US$$10.7 million.   As announced at the Budget Presentation, EC$7 million of the funds will be placed at the Saint Lucia Development Bank to assist small businesses including tourism and related services, industry and agriculture and agri-business.   The balance of approximately EC$21 million will be used to replace some of the bond financing in the 2009/2010 budget.


It should be made very clear that the ESF is not a structural adjustment facility and has very little conditionality attached.   The terms of the loan are highly concessionary with an annual interest rate of 0.5 percent, semi-annual payments, a five and half year grace period and full payment in 10 years.  Government will seek the necessary approval for the use of this loan facility at the next sitting of Parliament.


Saint Lucia is not the only Caribbean country accessing funding under the ESF.   In the OECS, Dominica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, have successfully applied and received funding under the facility earlier this year.

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