World Bank approves US$25-M credit for Dominica’s COVID-19 response

The World Bank’s board of executive directors last Thursday approved US$25 million to support the Dominica’s budget under the First COVID-19 Response and Recovery Development Policy Credit.

The financing, from the International Development Association (IDA), is interest-free with a maturity of 40 years, including a grace period of 10 years.

According to the World Bank, the facility will be the first of two quick-disbursing credits that aim to support Dominica’s efforts to save lives, livelihoods, and jobs, while laying the foundation for longer-term economic recovery. In this regard, the programme aligns with the country’s National Resilience Development Strategy and COVID-19 response strategy.

“The pandemic has once again highlighted the importance of increasing our country’s resilience. The Government of Dominica is focused on first saving lives, protecting livelihoods, and preserving jobs; and next on strengthening fiscal policies, public financial management and debt transparency for a strong and resilient recovery,” Prime Minister of Dominica Roosevelt Skerrit stated in a release.

Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Dominica Roosevelt Skerritt (File photo)

“The Government is fully committed to the reforms under this operation, which is timely and will help Dominica to build back better in a sustainable way.”

With this Development Policy Credit, the Dominican authorities will implement measures to support the gradual reopening of the tourism sector while protecting public health. Such measures include the adoption of standardised COVID-19 testing protocols and the approval of health protocols for the tourism and hospitality industry.

Roseau, the capital of Dominica, suffered devastating damages from Hurricane Maria in 2017. (Photo: STR/AFP/Getty Images)

In addition, the Government will have to manage initiatives aimed at protecting jobs, such as tax reforms that encourage companies to commit to retaining their employees. The operation also includes policy reforms to strengthen the country’s recovery by enhancing fiscal policies, public financial management, and debt transparency.

Tahseen Sayed, World Bank country director for the Caribbean, pointed out that the Caribbean country is still recovering from hurricanes that in recent years negatively impacted its economy.

World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean Tahseen Sayed (File photo)

“The World Bank was proud to be the first among Dominica’s partners to assist in the island’s recovery after the devastating 2017 hurricane. Today, we are pleased to provide the first-ever World Bank development policy financing to support the country’s efforts to recover from the extraordinary socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.