The government is considering loan offers made by international and domestic lenders to offset expenditure and replace lost revenue as a result of Hurricane Dorian, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said yesterday, adding that money from international agencies and disaster contingency funds are already being mobilized.
He said the government is in early discussions with multilateral lenders and local commercial banks for possible loan facilities to cover the country’s remaining financing needs, as revenues take a hit due to the storm.
In terms of donations to the country, Turnquest, who made his remarks during his contribution in the House of Assembly yesterday, said the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) received about $5.8 million “from a consortium of private, corporate, foreign government, intergovernmental and non-profit organizations”.
He explained that $1.9 million of that money has already gone to the purchase of recreational vehicles to house relief workers and volunteers on the affected islands, and $2.8 million has been spent on dome structures to house displaced people.
“These donations will continue to offset hurricane-related spending for the public sector,” he said.
“The extent that the government receives grants in money or kind, from both the domestic and international communities, will ease the direct burden on the fiscal purse for the various social relief, rebuilding and restoration activities.”
Turnquest also explained that the $100 million Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) contingent loan for natural disasters has so far been allocated to electricity restoration ($30 million), water restoration ($15 million), social welfare, including a possible extension in the National Insurance Board’s unemployment benefits ($30 million), cleanup efforts ($15 million) and the reimbursement of evacuation and shelter costs ($1 million).
“The remaining $9 million has not yet been allocated,” Turnquest said.
He added that the government will use the $12.9 million from the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility Segregated Portfolio Company (CCRIF SPC) for recovery-related costs.
According to Turnquest, the government has already advanced $10 million to Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) and $6 million to the Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC) to begin their restoration efforts.
“In addition, the government will deploy $20 million from the extinguished dormant accounts fund for disaster-related recovery activities – of which $10 million will be earmarked for the mentioned support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as mentioned earlier, $5 million to help defray costs related to the provision of temporary housing and the remaining $5 million for use by the new Ministry of Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction on specific rehabilitation and restoration efforts,” Turnquest said.
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