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IMF reports notable progress in Antigua

Published:Monday | April 9, 2012 | 12:00 AM

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reports “notable progress’ in many areas of the Antigua and Barbuda economy after completing three reviews of the island’s three-year multi-million dollar Stand By Agreement (SBA) with the Washington-based financial institution.

An IMF mission, headed by Geoffrey Bannister, ended a two week visit to the island expressing satisfaction with the progress being made under the US$117.8 million package.

“Fiscal performance in 2011 has been broadly as envisaged under the programme, despite global economic headwinds continuing to hamper economic activity. As a consequence, revenue collection has continued to be lower than programme projections,” Bannister said.

“The authorities have successfully restrained primary expenditure in order to meet the programmed targets and manage contingencies in the financial sector,” he said, adding “at the same time, a successful restructuring of debts to both domestic and external creditors has managed to reduce interest payments”.

Bannister said Antigua and Barbuda has continued to advance with structural reforms aimed at strengthening public administration to improve budget performance.

“The mission had useful discussions with the authorities on macroeconomic, structural and financial sector policies under the programme going forward,” he said.

“The authorities remain firmly committed to the policies and objectives of their fiscal consolidation programme, and recognize the importance of strong macroeconomic, financial and structural policies in achieving the goals of their national economic and social transformation plan,” he added.

Bannister said discussions will continue when Antiguan authorities visit Washington for the IMF and World Bank Group meetings during April 16–21.