Monetary Council Chairman – Denzil Douglas
Photo By Erasmus Williams
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
July 02, 2012 (CUOPM)
Ministers of Finance of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union have agreed to recommend that member governments contribute to the finalisation of the OECS Development Strategy and introduce the necessary institutional arrangements to ensure its implementation.
Meeting Friday under the Chairmanship of St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas, it was recommended that member governments of the ECCU expedite the preparation and implementation of medium term economic strategy papers (MTESPs). These MTESPs are to be circulated among members of the union for discussion, feedback and consistency.
Member governments are also to structure their Public Sector Investment Programmes into (i) short-term employment creating growth generating projects, with immediate payoffs; (ii) infrastructural projects to help the transition from agricultural to tourism based economies and public/private partnerships and (iii) regional projects in the areas of energy, transportation and education/skills training.
In the area of Fiscal and Debt Sustainability, the Monetary Council also agreed to recommend that member governments implement best practices in cash flow management; prepare and lay before parliament the Medium Term Debt Strategies; engage the international institutions on the development of a “Highly Indebted Middle Income Country” facility to alleviate the debt burden and continue to exploit the low yields on the Regional Government Securities Market RGSM) as a means of reducing debt servicing costs.
It was also recommended that governments review the operations of financial intermediaries, particularly as it relates to long term instruments on the Regional Governments Securities Market to determine avenues for cost savings; expand the usage of the RGSM and make special efforts to forge a secondary market to increase liquidity on the RGSM.
Council members attending were the Honourable Reuben T. Meade, Premier and Minister for Finance, Montserrat; Honourable Hubert Hughes, Chief Minister and Minister for Finance, Anguilla; Honourable Harold Lovell, Minister for Finance, Antigua and Barbuda; Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Commonwealth of Dominica; Honourable Nazim Burke, Minister for Finance, Grenada; The Right Honourable Dr. Denzil L. Douglas, Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, St. Kitts and Nevis; Dr. the Honourable Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Dr. the Right Hon. Kenny Anthony, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of St. Lucia.