ECCB Projects One Per Cent Growth In Sub Region

(CMC) – The Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), Timothy Antoine, says amidst all the uncertainty presented by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Currency Union (ECCU) is projected to have grown by about one per cent following a contraction of 17 per cent last year.

“Looking ahead, we currently project the ECCU will grow by about seven per cent next year, as the recovery of tourism, our dominant export, gathers momentum, Antoine said, adding that the ECCB will publish revised estimates at the end of January next year.

“Our Central Bank will continue to implement the Programme of Action for Recovery, Resilience and Transformation. Key actions include boosting food and nutrition security; access to credit for small businesses; accelerating digital transformation, strengthening cybersecurity and enhancing climate resilience,” he added.

The ECCU groups the islands of Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts-Nevis, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Antoine said that while the member countries were spared the ravages of monster storms, the sub-region remembers the devastation wrought by the eruption of the La Soufriere volcano in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the criticality of additional resources as the country builds back.

“We urge those who pledged, to make good on their commitments and encourage others to step forward. As we prepare to enter the third year of the pandemic with no immediate end in sight, I hail the tireless work of our frontline warriors in healthcare…as well as security, border control and other essential workers including the media.”

Antoine said he was thankful to those in the islands who have been vaccinated against the virus and encouraging those who have not done so to get on board, adding “let us all do our part to save lives and restore livelihoods”.

Reflecting on the past 12 months, the Grenadian-born ECCB, the governor said there have been several achievements, “for which we should be justifiably proud”

He said among those achievements are the continued collaboration with banks and other financial institutions “to deliver the much needed and appreciated loan repayment deferral programme. “Although some loans have graduated or have now been restructured, there are still about 6,000 loans valued at EC$1.2 billion (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) benefitting from this programme”.

Antoine said in addition, the ECCB has provided one million dollars to ensure the timely rollout of vaccination programmes in member countries as well as launching its ‘award-winning digital currency, DCash, thereby becoming the first currency union in the world to launch a digital currency. “DCash is now available in seven of our eight member countries. We anticipate onboarding Anguilla in early 2022,” he added.