St. Kitts and Nevis gets Taiwan debt ease
The debt has been rescheduled in light of the country’s financial difficulties.
BASSETERRE, St Kitts, Wednesday May 25th, 2011 (CUOPM) – A US$35 million loan from Taiwan for the expansion of the apron at the Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport and the reconstruction of the cruise ship berth at Port Zante has been rescheduled to give St. Kitts and Nevis easier repayment terms.
St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Dr. Denzil L. Douglas said yesterday this follows a request he made during his official visit to Taiwan in March, during talks with President Ma Ying-jeou.
He had requested that the interest rate be reduced from five to two-three percent, and a five-year moratorium be granted as a result of the difficulties being experienced in the local economy as a result of the international financial crisis.
“To my surprise I was informed last night the Government of Taiwan has agreed that the interest rate be reduced from five percent to one percent and that the moratorium starting payment has been extended not from five years as I had requested, but to 15 years,” he said.
Prime Minister Douglas noted that those kinds of negotiations are becoming critical as St. Kitts and Nevis and the rest of the Caribbean look at how they can tackle the serious debt problem and respond positively to the continuing challenge of paying the interest payments that are due on credits over the years.
“We not only have to look at the IMF in terms of the additional resources but we continue to look at the possibility of dealing with the serious national debt,” he said.
“We have incurred debt because we pursued a particular path for the development of our country, especially after a series of hurricanes. The Government also took over the debt of the Sugar Industry, which was over EC$400 million (US$148 million) when the industry closed.”
The Prime Minister, who is also the Minister of Finance, said the ongoing discussions with the IMF and the twin-island federation’s debt advisors “will be able to ensure that our approach to tackling the difficulties that we are having in the economy will result in a large extent to no loss of the social development programmes that our people are enjoying at this time, because we believe that our people have been asked to pay enough and I do not think that we can ask them to pay anything more.”
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