Press Release:- Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Honourable Allen Chastanet welcomes the decision by Financial Institutions to offer an extension of moratoriums to support customers during this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a joint media release by The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) and The Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) dated 23rd September 2020: “The unprecedented situation that we recognised in March 2020 has not yet shown signs of significant improvement and more lives and livelihoods have been impacted by the significant downturn in our economies, especially relating to the Tourism Sector on which the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union so heavily relies. Consequently, we have taken the collective decision to maintain the support programme, as we continue to navigate the pandemic together.”
The release goes on: “We have noted that, although most of our member countries are beginning to reopen their borders utilising a phased approach, the pandemic continues to negatively impact individuals and businesses across the region. The ECCB supports the ECCU Bankers Association extension of the current moratorium to as much as 12 months, where considered necessary.”
Prime Minister Chastanet has always encouraged financial institutions; banks, insurance companies to come together to support customers who have not only lost their jobs, but businesses who are affected by the general slowdown of economic activity.
In April, a Social Stabilization Program was announced to the Nation by the Prime Minister which listed several economic relief programs and initiatives to help cushion citizens from the economic fallout.
Tax Relief in the form of waivers on penalties and fees, NIC support, an economic relief program and a national feeding program were just a few of the initiatives.
Prime Minister Chastanet said: “In terms of the management of COVID-19, as a country we have much to be thankful for, but we still do not know what exactly the future holds. In as much as we have opened our borders and started a phased re-opening of the Tourism sector, many persons remain out of work. We still need time to recover and rebound and this announcement will help ease the heightened anxiety brought on by the pandemic. This also shows a level of confidence by the financial sector in the management of economies of the Caribbean and our ability to bounce back.”
Extension of moratoriums will be on a per client basis and the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank and the ECCU Bankers Association encourages Saint Lucians with loan commitments to reach out to their relevant financial institutions to be considered for the moratorium.