ECCB Governor Timothy Antoine
By Ken Richards
BASSETERRE, St Kitts (WINN) -- Guidelines and recommendations pertaining to the use of revenue from economic citizenship programmes in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) have been put forward by Governor Timothy Antoine of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB).
Noting the importance of the CIPs to St Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada and St Lucia, Antoine offered some advice on the use of the citizenship by investment (CBI) programmes.
His comments were made in Dominica this past week.
“First of all we say, be transparent by publishing all the flows, the ins and outs of the fund. We believe that is extremely important for people to know how much is collected and how it is spent. So we welcome the efforts of the government to establish in the last budget, specifically how much is coming from the CBI and what it is being spent on and we think that that is important and we’ve also suggested a template that can be used to publish information on a regular basis so that anybody home or abroad can see this information and understand what is happening with the programme.
"We also recommend the following, and here is why, none of us knows how long the CBI will last. We hope it will last for a long time, but we really don’t know. Right now Dominica is doing well on it in terms of collections, but who knows the future,” Antoine said.
CBI funds should go to specific priorities, he suggested.
“Be prudent by not using the money for recurrent expenditure. Don’t use it to pay wages and salaries, don’t use it to pay light bills, because when you do that, if the funds stop, you are in trouble. What should you use it for? To pay down domestic arrears, if you owe local and small business suppliers for goods and services to government, use the money to pay them. If you have foreign debt, pay them.
"In the budget the government is taking the CBI to fund a number of things for Erika recovery, which is good, that makes sense, because instead of borrowing the government is using CBI.
"We also say use it to fund critical infrastructure. Clearly in Dominica post Erika, there is a need for roads and bridges, we also know that the government is going to use some for geothermal development, we believe those are good uses of the CBI,” he explained.
The ECCB governor is also recommended the establishment of a Resilience Fund, a decision already agreed to by the Dominica government.
Republished with permission of West Indies News Network