Govt already in the process of securing multilateral funding

The government is already in the process of securing the multilateral funding to support the country through the economic fallout due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). It is seeking a $220 million loan through the World Bank to support its response to the virus and capital development programs, Deputy Prime Minister and Minster of Finance Peter Turnquest told Guardian Business yesterday.

Turnquest added that the loan, which is through the World Bank’s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) program, is currently under consideration, as well as loans from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).

“The government is seeking to make use of the multilateral agencies given the fact that as shareholder members, The Bahamas is able to benefit from interest rates and loans that are more favorable than direct lending,” Turnquest said.

“Additionally, these institutions are able to couple the loans with grant resources and technical expertise in the execution of the elements of the funded programs.”

According to Turnquest, the IDB will provide an $80 million energy sector loan for the continuing restoration of Abaco and East Grand Bahama and the build out of commercial solar generation, all of which are already approved by the IDB.

He added that the IDB has already provided $25 million to support Bahamian entrepreneurs and small businesses. A $100 million policy-based loan and a $40 million health sector support loan program are under consideration.

A $25 million policy-based loan from the Caribbean Development Bank is also currently under consideration.

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