The Antigua and Barbuda government says it will use the US$20.3 million provided by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to meet its financial obligations to creditors.
“It really positions us to meet some of the deferred obligations that would have incurred as a result of the delay. Obviously over the period we would have accumulated some arrears in respect of local business persons, contractors and persons within the local economy in particular,” said Finance Minister Harold Lovell.
“So we want to address those urgently as a matter of policy. It would also be a matter whereby we have the essential government function to ensure that we can carry out our daily obligations”. Lovell said that the government had to use funds in anticipation of receiving the funds last year, adding “we have had to make do without those funds which have put an enormous strain on us”.
Last week, the IMF said it would make the funds available to the Antigua and Barbuda government after the financial institution completed a series of reviews under the multi-million dollar 36 month Stand By Agreement (SBA) the island has with the fund.
The Baldwin Spencer administration entered into a US$110.4 million SBA with the Washington-based financial institution in 2010, but the IMF suspended the programme last July after Antigua agreed to make an intervention into a “systemically important financial institution by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB).