By Caribbean News Now contributor
LONDON, England -- In a written statement to the House of Commons in London on Thursday, UK minister of state for international development, Desmond Swayne, announced that on Monday the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) government repaid its remaining borrowing under a five-year US$260 million line of credit guaranteed by Britain.
Repayment was made on schedule and with an ongoing borrowing need of just US$28 million. The TCI government was able to raise this amount without further recourse to the UK government for support and is expected to repay that loan over the next three-and-a-half years.
In February 2011, Britain’s Department for International Development (DFID) finalised a guarantee in favour of Scotiabank (Turks and Caicos) Ltd to provide the TCI government with access to a maximum capital amount of US$260 million over five years.
At the time, the then minister of state for international development, Alan Duncan, argued that the assistance would allow the TCI government to implement budget measures that would lead to achieving a fiscal surplus in the financial year ending March 2013.
According to Swayne, the TCI government has progressed from deficits of US$77 million in financial year 2010/11 and US$29 million in 2011/12 to a surplus the following year and strong surpluses thereafter.
“The TCI government and the TCI public service had to make a number of difficult decisions and sacrifices. Financial management and oversight has been strengthened. Essential investment was maintained, including an expansion of the international airport that has allowed a significant increase in flights from US cities. The successful conclusion of DFID’s guarantee is a credit to the resolve of the TCI public service, the TCI government, the Governor’s Office and UK-financed technical experts,” Swayne said.