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Reforms Progressing Well In Antigua And Barbuda

by Phillip Morton, Investors Offshore.com

04 November 2010


The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has welcomed reform in Antigua and Barbuda in terms of bringing its public finances back onto a sustainable footing.

The IMF Executive Board’s first review of its 36-month Stand-By Arrangement secures USD127.3m worth of low-interest credit for the jurisdiction.

The completion of its first review enables an immediate disbursement of USD5.3m, bringing total disbursements to USD31.8m.

Welcoming progress made by the islands’ authorities, Naoyuki Shinohara, Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair of the Board, said:

“The Antiguan economy continues to be adversely affected by sustained weakness in tourism receipts, Foreign Direct Investment inflows, and remittances, resulting in a sharper-than-expected contraction in economic activity this year, following a steep decline in 2009. Despite the weak economic situation and revenue underperformance, all end-June quantitative targets and structural benchmarks have been met. The authorities have preserved program targets on the basis of enhanced revenue efforts and expenditure restraint.”

“Nevertheless, continued vigilance is needed as program risks related to weak growth and employment remain elevated. The measures already taken by the authorities have brought substantial progress toward the achievement of the targeted primary surplus of 3% of GDP following a primary deficit of 11.5% last year. Progress on planned fiscal structural reforms is also critical to improving debt dynamics and strengthening the basis for growth,” Shinohara said.

“In the months ahead, the authorities expect to advance with plans for civil service reform, wage bill management, and the recruitment and training of new tax auditors to help enhance revenue growth.”

“In the financial sector, the implementation of measures to contain the risks to the financial system by bolstering supervision, including through comprehensive bank examinations, is progressing. The authorities are also putting in place an effective regulatory framework for offshore financial services and nonbank financial institutions."

TAGS: tax | fiscal policy | International Monetary Fund (IMF) | offshore | Antigua and Barbuda

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