NewsWorld Bank Projects 9.6% Growth Rate for Saint Lucia in 2022

St. Lucia News OnlineJuly 4, 2022122073 min

As Saint Lucia prepares for the first National Budget to be presented by the six-month-old Philip J. Pierre administration, the World Bank is reporting that the island is due for an impressive 9.6% economic growth rate.

According to the latest edition of the World Bank’s Global Economic Prospects, Saint Lucia’s economic growth projection of 9.6% ranks high across the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) region, with a regional average of just over 7%.

The report, issued on January 12, 2022, says the average economic growth in the wider Caribbean is estimated at 7.3% in 2022 and 5.9% in 2023.

The Pierre administration, which on July 26, 2021 inherited the country’s largest external debt and an inadequately funded COVID-19 country response, appears to be managing well enough over the past six months battling the 4th and 5th COVID-19 Waves, while meeting its monthly obligations to public servants and debt payments to its creditors.

A Source within the government says that the country’s growth prospects could have been even better had there not been so much wastage during the last administration, “a major cause of the country’s now heavy debt burden, which has meant diverting funds to meeting debt obligations rather than to new investments”.

On February 1, Prime Minister Pierre revealed during the last sitting of parliament that way-over $100 million worth of irregular Direct Awards were awarded to unnamed contractors for eye-watering sums for projects in the months leading to the July 2021 general elections. This is on top of the financial fiasco associated with Hewanorra International Airport (HIA) and the St. Jude Hospital projects.

The World Bank’s 9.6% growth projection comes against a background of the Saint Lucia economy suffering a 26% decline – the largest economic decline in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) – in 2021 under former Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Allen Chastanet, even after borrowing more than any other country in the ECCU.

Meanwhile, Guyana, thanks to its new oil-and-gas fortunes, is the only CARICOM nation set to post double-digit growth figures (49.7%) for 2022.

St. Lucia News Online

One comment

  • Modeste Downes

    February 9, 2022 at 11:10 am

    Keep your hand on the handle, Prime Minister Pierre. By this the confidence of the people in you and your administration will be bolstered. Let’s avoid all borrowings not absolutely necessary, making do with what we have. Allocate wisely, monitor departmental spending, contain or put a bridle on wastage, try to reinstate the banana market, encourage NGO’s to raise own funding (esp. external grants), insist on efficiency in public project management/implementation, restrict ministerial travel to minimum, shake up ministry of agriculture /fishery to up diversification in the broadest sense and take value added more seriously, get the banks, credit unions, insurance companies and other financial institutions to operate more in since with official government policy agenda …Looking forward to Budget

    Reply

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