St Johns. According to Telesur TV, After seven years and despite the destructive impact of Hurricane Irma, Antigua and Barbuda’s debt to the International Monetary Fund is almost completely repaid, the prime minister announced Friday.
During a session with his cabinet, Prime Minister Gaston Browne announced that the treasury has only a US$13 million outstanding debt remaining of the US$119 million assumed by his predecessor.
In September, the country was refused a moratorium on the debt despite the natural disaster that destroyed over 90 percent of Barbuda and incurred over US$150 million in reconstruction and recovery costs.
Since then, the Caribbean nation has managed to continue making timely payments to the IMF, with additional reassurance from Browne that the treasury will continue to repay loans to multilateral agencies and international partners.
The multimillion-dollar loan was approved following the 2010 global economic crash by the administration of Baldwin Spencer. The purpose of the loan was to recover and support the government which was suffering under crippling debt and slow economic growth, said former Finance Minister Harold Lovell.
The move was vehemently criticized by the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party and in August 2014, Browne announced to the IMF his decision to decline a second agreement and his plan to repay the looming debt as soon as possible.
Despite damage from the hurricane, Browne said he expects tax revenues will revive with the coming of tourism season, adding that it’s sure to boost both revenues and economic growth.
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