ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada, May 8, 2020 (CMC) – The government of Grenada has announced that, as part of its strategy of adjustment to the negative fiscal impact of the COVIDF-19 pandemic, the country is applying to the international community for a suspension on EC$60 million that is scheduled to be paid to creditors, covering the period from April to December 2020.
“We are now applying to the international community for the deferment of debt payments. We are expected to, or be able to, make payment of more than EC$60 million, between now and the end of the year,” Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell, announced on Wednesday.
“So, we are asking, in this period of COVID-19, that these payments not be removed completely, because, in some cases, these are commercial debts and people have to be repaid. So what we asking for, is a deferment, so for the rest of the year, we won’t be expected to meet those payments, because we can use a lot of those monies to help people, instead of having to pay out those resources, at this time, and to start paying again, next year,” said Mitchell, who is also Finance Minister.
“We can only able to do this, because our revenue has dropped, considerably,” said the Prime Minister, in a telephone interview, which was aired as part of “Hard Talk” – a daily talk show — hosted by the communications arm of the ruling New National Party (NNP) — that is aired by a number of radio stations and on social media platforms.
He disclosed, for the month of April, the government received less than a third of the projected income, as stated in the 2020 budget.
“For the month of April, we were expected to raise over EC$30 million, between inland revenue and customs, individually; and customs have fallen about EC$12million short, and Inland revenue is over EC$10 million short. So you can see the impact in just these two areas of revenue, we are not talking about some of the other areas,” he told the host.
“We are over EC$20 million short in resources, and the government still have to pay public servants, that is a commitment we have to meet, for those months, in particular, coming up…We have taken a tremendous hit, as far as revenue is concerned,” said the Prime Minister, who pointed out how the government was able to meet public servant wages and salaries and some other local claims, for the month of April.
“The only reason we are able to meet our commitment to workers…. and be able to assist the marginalised in this time, is because of the way we have managed the economy; the saving we have had; and the support we are getting from regional and international institutions. This is the fundamental reasons for us to be able to do what we are doing,” he declared.
The Prime Minister added that the country has received support and contributions from several regional and international agencies and donors, as part the island’s new measures in the immediate, short, medium and long term effects that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on economies, worldwide.
Between the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Caribbean Development, the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, the European Union and the United Nations Development Fund, Grenada has received more than EC$75 million as credit, grants or technical support in contributions.