by Virgil Leonty
The Government of Saint Lucia has passed a Bill to manage the country’s debt. The Public Debt Management Bill provides legislative guidelines for borrowing and managing funds.
Passed in the House of Assembly on Oct. 3, the bill sets restrictions and other procedures for borrowing.
Among its many provisions, the Bill makes the Ministry of Finance the sole borrowing agent for the country, as well as making parliamentary approval a pre-requisite for borrowing. It also allows for a medium-term debt strategy and mandatory public debt analyses.
In presenting the Bill, the Minister for Finance, Prime Minister Phillip J. Pierre explained that it was a dictate of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
It was first tabled in Parliament in Oct. 2020, under the previous administration. The prime minister said the “IMF believes that the bill is a positive step and would enhance fiscal transparency.”
Hon. Pierre continued: “It makes Government loans accountable to the people of Saint Lucia,” and would send a positive signal to the capital market, both domestically and beyond.
The Public Debt Management Bill was passed alongside the adoption of two resolutions, authorizing the prime minister to borrow more than USD$16 million.
USD$9, 100, 000 will go toward the enhancement and support of the Sint Lucia Fire Service; while USD$6 million will be injected into the Youth Economy Agency.
It will support the programs of the YEA and provide small loans and grants to eligible young entrepreneurs.
SOURCE: Government Information Service