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Saturday, October 25 2014 @ 06:46 PM AST

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IMF: Grenada is Overcoming the Crisis

The Caribbean Corner reviews the main objectives and achievements to date in the recently launched program in Grenada, the Jamaica arrangement that has been in place since May 2013, and the just completed arrangement in St. Kitts and Nevis.

Grenada Overcoming the Crisis

By Kimberly Beaton

A decade of natural disasters and the global financial crisis coalesced into a deep economic crisis in Grenada. The economy underwent a protracted recession during 2009-11 and, with monetary policy constrained by the peg to the U.S dollar, the government used countercyclical fiscal policy to support economic activity. The fiscal expansion did not have a strong impact on growth but widened fiscal imbalances, with debt reaching 110 percent of GDP by end-2013 and financing pressures mounting. The crisis came to a tipping point in March 2013 when—unable to meet its financial obligations—the government announced it would seek a comprehensive and collaborative restructuring of public debt.

The authorities immediately embarked on a comprehensive reform agenda, supported since June 2014 by a three-year IMF arrangement (under the Extended Credit Facility), as well as by the World Bank and the Caribbean Development Bank.

The authorities’ program focuses on restoring fiscal sustainability, strengthening competitiveness and growth prospects, and securing financing stability. The authorities are addressing fiscal imbalances through a large and frontloaded fiscal consolidation of 7¾ percent of GDP over three years, complemented by efforts to comprehensively restructure and bring it toward the regional debt target of 60 percent of GDP by 2020. Deep fiscal structural reforms will lock in the gains from these combined efforts, including though new fiscal responsibility legislation.

To protect the most vulnerable from the effects of the adjustment, the authorities are strengthening social safety nets and have set a floor on spending under the flagship social program. Boosting private-sector led growth remains an overwhelming priority for the authorities’ program, with structural reforms focusing on improving the business environment, reducing electricity costs, and removing other obstacles to growth. To ensure that the financial system can provide the financial intermediation necessary to support growth, efforts are underway to strengthen regulation and supervision of all segments of the financial system.

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CLICO crisis held up as bad example at IMF meeting

MONTEGO BAY, JAMAICA, Photo by Katy Warner, Flickr

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IMF: Caribbean economies face difficult outlook

By Mbuyamu Matungulu and Marcio Ronci, IMF, Caribbean Corner

With the exception of commmodity exporters, most Caribbean countries have experienced low growth and low inflation (above) and large fiscal and external imbalances that brought about high debt burdens (below).