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IDB rep: $90 mil. loan had already been approved between 2016 and 2017

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Country Representative Maria Florencia Attademo-Hirt sought to explain yesterday the details behind the government’s recent announcement to borrow $90 million for three projects, which she said had already been approved by the IDB’s board between the years 2016 and 2017.

The government is seeking to borrow $90 million from the IDB for coastal management, airport infrastructure and skills training programs for current and future related jobs.

In a statement, the IDB explained that the three loans are a part of 11 sovereign guarantee active projects that have been approved, in implementation, or closing.

The total value of these loans is approximately $368 million, with approximately $160 million in funds remaining for disbursement, according to the IDB.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Attademo-Hirt explained that the first of the three loans, which was approved by the IDB board in November 2016, was the labor market loan, which involves the skills training programs.

The second loan to be approved was the Family Islands airport infrastructure loan in January 2017, but it was prepared four to six months prior to its approval, she noted.

The most recent approval, that took place in November 2017, was the coastal zone management loan, but that loan was prepared in terms of technical readiness since March/April of last year, according to Attademo-Hirt.

She said while the loans have been approved by the IDB, she does not know how soon the funds from the loans would be distributed.

“It depends on when the Parliament of The Bahamas is ready to debate the three loans and to pass a resolution for the administration to be in a position to sign the loan agreement. We cannot start implementing until the loan agreement is signed,” said Attademo-Hirt.

Despite a resolution being tabled in Parliament for the loans last week, Financial Secretary in the Ministry of Finance Marlon Johnson explained in a recent statement that the loans would not have an impact on the government’s borrowings for the current fiscal year.

The IDB, in its statement yesterday, also noted that sovereign guaranteed loans undertake a number of measures to “ensure that all the proceeds from any loan are used only for the purposes for which it was granted, with due consideration of economy and efficiency”.

Virgill-Rolle: Sus
Liu: 58 Bahamians, 1