Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre identified inflation as one of the most pressing policy issues in an address Friday to the opening ceremony of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) Monetary Council’s 105th meeting.
Pierre, the outgoing Council Chairman, observed that Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) consumer price inflation surged past pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels.
“From 0.4 percent in 2019 to 6.7 percent in 2022,” he told the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines opening ceremony.
However, Pierre, also responsible for Finance and Economic Development, observed that, unlike some advanced economies, the region was unable to use monetary policies to manage inflation.
He asserted that member governments had done their best to cushion the impact of rising food and fuel prices through tax cuts and social safety programmes.
In addition, he explained that the Monetary Council placed additional focus on advocacy, consumer education, and protection.
In Saint Lucia’s case, Pierre recalled a consumer protection law that came into effect early last year.
“Our regional financial system has withstood many tests over the years. We must ensure its continued stability,” the Saint Lucia Prime Minister told his audience.
He noted that member governments made strides in implementing legislative reform to enhance financial sector resilience in the ECCU.
And Pierre said that enactment is approximately seventy-five percent complete.
He described the ECCB as a pillar of regional strength and stability and a model for Caribbean unity.
“The fact that our currency has remained stable is testimony to the benefit of monetary and soon, economic integration,” Pierre said.
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