Government is committed to finding those partners and avenues through which it can attract the type of financing necessary to assist Barbados in continuing its march towards a developed country status.
That was the message of this island???s Minister of Finance, Christopher Sinckler, as he delivered remarks yesterday at the launch of the Barbados Water Authority???s (BWA) Business Transformation Project at Courtyard by Marriott.
Mr. Sinckler said Government wanted to ensure that it could access affordable financing, but noted that there were not many options in that regard.
???Having lost our investment grade rating a few years ago, that has placed additional pressure on us in the private capital markets to attract the type of debt financing that would allow us to do projects and programmes that are of fundamental importance to the build out of the Barbados economy and for the further sophistication of our society,??? he stated.
Cowater International Inc., in association with Sogema Technologies Inc. and supported by the Canadian Commercial Corporation and Export Development Canada (EDC), has been selected to manage the BWA???s Smart Business Transformation Programme.
This project, which spans three years, is expected to modernise and transform the BWA, thus ensuring better customer service, improved water conservation and an efficient BWA.
Mr. Sinckler explained that in February 2015 Cabinet gave approval for Government to borrow US$69.7 million from Citibank, 95 per cent of which would be insured by an EDC Non-Honouring of Sovereign Loan Facility to finance the BWA???s project. He added that the agreement was finalised and signed on June 26, 2015, after much work and negotiation by the legal teams.
In lauding these institutions, he pointed out that they provide a facility to many countries across the world to penetrate their financing needs at reasonable costs. He noted that when approached, the CCC and EDC showed a willingness to participate in this arrangement and described it as a show of confidence in the economy of Barbados and its future.
???It has not been easy but it has been worth it and being here is a demonstration of our commitment on all sides to ensuring that we can have a programme that works for the people of Barbados and Canada. [This is] BWA???s march to the level of modernity and reform that they have long promised the people of Barbados,??? Mr. Sinckler remarked.