On a quest to source the funds needed to propel the recovery and rebuilding efforts of the BVI following Hurricanes Irma and Maria, Premier and Minister for Finance, Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith traveled to Washington D.C. last Friday to discuss BVI recovery financing.
Prior to his departure the Premier announced in a statement on 12 October that Government has been examining and considering various funding options. “My administration has decided the best way forward for the Territory is to utilise an appropriate mix of financing, including grants and affordable borrowing to fund our reconstruction. We continue to foster relationships with private investors and companies, donor agencies, countries, lending institutions, international investors and the United Kingdom government to facilitate the funding needed.”
Additionally, Dr. Smith said that Government has already received some financial contributions and pledges from regional and international friends. He also said that his administration has had several meetings to discuss the cost of the Territory’s reconstruction and how it will be financed: “Immediately following the passage of Irma and even now, it continues to be a priority for my office to ensure that local businesses continue so that goods and services can be provided to residents and so that jobs remain in our economy.”
In light of the effects of the recent hurricanes around the Caribbean, Hon. Smith disclosed that the World Bank hosted a discussion last weekend as part of its annual meetings. “In attendance was the President of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim.”
The BVI Leader also explained that in support of the holistic effort to rebuild for residents and to provide some level of financial ease Government has waived customs duties on building supplies, generators and now we have also added items such as food, clothing, vehicles and other non-luxury items.
“While our financial services industry has successfully continued serving clients, we know that with losses to our tourism sector and to our local economy our gross domestic product will be substantially impacted, yet we must fund our recovery efforts,” the Premier mentioned.
“We are also exploring options with international investors to look at reasonable and responsible opportunities for financing our recovery. While we are reminded daily of the importance to get our islands back to its pristine landscape, we also know that our financial actions will have a significant impact on our future development. To this end, we are seeking all possible options to fund our rebuilding responsibly,” Hon. Smith added.