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International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
Grenada’s economy was hit hard by the pandemic, with a decline in real output of 14 percent in 2020 from both a collapse of tourism-related activities and the suspension of in-person classes at Saint George’s University (SGU). Growth in 2021 is estimated to have partly recovered to 5.6 percent, driven by construction and agriculture. The authorities’ policy response helped mitigate the pandemic’s impact through containment measures, increased health and social spending, and an expanded public investment program (including to build resilience to natural disasters). Central government debt rose to 70 percent of GDP in 2021 (from 59 percent in 2019) and the external position has worsened. The financial sector has so far weathered the crisis well.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
The fallout from the COVID-19 crisis is hitting ECCU economies hard. Tourism receipts (accounting for nearly 40 percent of GDP) have dried up, as tourist arrivals have come to a grinding halt. The authorities successfully contained the spread of the virus at the onset of the pandemic by largely closing the borders, but a reopening of the economies since the summer has led to a surge in COVID cases. The ECCU economy is projected to contract by 16 percent in 2020 and by a further near ½ percent in 2021. Fiscal positions have deteriorated sharply, and public debt is projected to reach near 90 percent of GDP in 2021 and remain at an elevated level for years to come. Headline indicators suggest the financial system is relatively sound with ample liquidity buffers, but nonperforming loans are expected to rise significantly. The outlook is clouded by exceptionally high risks, including from the uncertainty concerning the evolution of the pandemic.
Charles Cohen, S. M. Ali Abbas, Anthony Myrvin, Tom Best, Mr. Peter Breuer, Hui Miao, Ms. Alla Myrvoda, and Eriko Togo
The COVID-19 crisis may lead to a series of costly and inefficient sovereign debt restructurings. Any such restructurings will likely take place during a period of great economic uncertainty, which may lead to protracted negotiations between creditors and debtors over recovery values, and potentially even relapses into default post-restructuring. State-contingent debt instruments (SCDIs) could play an important role in improving the outcomes of these restructurings.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This paper discusses Grenada’s Request for Disbursement Under the Rapid Credit Facility. IMF financing support provides resources to the countries’ authorities for essential health-related expenditures and income support to ease the impact of coronavirus disease 2019 on the population. The countries’ governments have responded to the pandemic by swiftly implementing containment measures, allocating scarce budgetary resources to critical health care spending, and introducing income support to the most affected sectors and households. Protection of the financial system will help cushion the economic impact of the pandemic. Measures have also been taken by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank to facilitate the provision of credit and safeguard financial stability. Going forward, and once the current crisis dissipates, the authorities intend to push ahead with a comprehensive Disaster Resilience Strategy aimed at building resilience to natural disasters. They are also committed to further strengthening financial sector oversight to safeguard macro-financial stability.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This paper discusses St. Lucia’s Request for Disbursement Under the Rapid Credit Facility. IMF financing support provides resources to the countries’ authorities for essential health-related expenditures and income support to ease the impact of coronavirus disease 2019 on the population. In order to address the pandemic, the authorities announced measures to help employees and households, including income support to the unemployed, tax relief, and providing cash transfers to the most vulnerable and affected. The countries’ governments have responded to the pandemic by swiftly implementing containment measures, allocating scarce budgetary resources to critical health care spending, and introducing income support to the most affected sectors and households. Protection of the financial system will help cushion the economic impact of the pandemic. Measures have also been taken by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank to facilitate the provision of credit and safeguard financial stability. The IMF will continue to be engaged with Dominica, Grenada, and St. Lucia, and stands ready to provide policy advice and further support as needed.
Stephane Schlotterbeck
Over the past decade, governments in the Caribbean region have introduced the value-added tax (VAT) to modernize their tax system, rapidly mobilize revenue and reduce budget deficits. This paper analyzes VAT performance in the region and concludes that while it has boosted revenues, the VAT has not reached its potential. Intended as a broad-based tax with limited exemptions, a single rate and zero-rating confined to exports, the VAT’s design often lacks these characteristics. The paper also finds that although tax administration reforms can boost revenues, countries have just started to address organizational inefficiencies, data integrity issues, and operational ineffectiveness. These reforms need to intensify in order to have a more significant impact on compliance and revenue.