ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Minister of Finance and the Economy Harold Lovell, yesterday signed an agreement with the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), a subsidiary of The World Bank, that will provide Antigua & Barbuda with a grant for almost US $1 million.
In a press release, the Ministry of Finance said the World Bank is giving government a US $980,000 Project Preparation Advance (PPA) grant that will go towards expenditures associated with preparing for a Public and Social Sector Transformation Project (PSST), including the establishment and staffing of a Project Management Unit in the Ministry of Finance. This initiative is a part of the ministry’s National Economic and Social Transformation (NEST) plan.
The PSST Project is expected to enhance adults’ ability to “find and maintain a job by addressing existing labour marker deficiencies;” to facilitate better management of public sector human resources and enhance the country’s capacity to formulate and implement social sector policies.
The release noted that the fiscal consolidation programme aspect of the NEST plan will “now see increased activity as a result of the signing of this agreement.”
The NEST programme is supported by a Policy-Based Loan from the CDB and a Stand-By Arrangement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2010.
In a subsequent press release, the ministry said it will be hosting the World Bank today and tomorrow for a review of the suitability of the “4-3-2” Framework” developed by IMF and the World Bank for Antigua & Barbuda.
The framework is designed to present solutions to address the chronic problem of high and unsustainable debt faced by the Caribbean including Antigua & Barbuda as well as other small states.
The participants will be drawn from a wide cross section of the public and private sectors.