Barbados Signs Agreement With EU

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – On Wednesday, July 22nd Barbados signed a 10.13 M Euros (BDS $28M) financing agreement with the European Union to assist with the modernisation of this country’s International Business and Financial Services Sector.

The funds will also give effect to the European Community’s contribution to the 2008 Annual Action Programme on Accompanying Measures for Sugar Protocol Countries (AMPS).

Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Investment and Telecommunications, Senator Darcy Boyce, signed the accord on behalf of the Barbados Government, while Head of the European Delegation, Ambassador Mr. Valeriano Diaz, initialed on behalf of Europe. The ceremony was held in the Committee Room of Parliament Buildings.The first tranche of 4.75 M Euros (BDS $13M) will be made available subject to compliance with EU General Conditions, while the second tranche will be disbursed against specific performance indicators such as quarterly or annual reports. The money is part of the EU’s annual development assistance, following the reform of the European Union’s sugar regime.

In his remarks, Senator Boyce said: “The resources of the Accompanying Measures for Sugar Protocol Countries Initiative 2007-2010 is provided by way of Budget Support rather than direct Project Financing as occurred in previous programmes. In order to qualify, it therefore requires the preparation of a Multi-Annual Action Plan which consists of a number of projects for the said period, that is, 2007 – 2010. One such project is the support to the International Business and Financial Services Sector.”

The Barbados-European Union relationship at the national level is governed essentially by three main instruments, the Ninth European Development Fund Country Strategy Paper and National Indicative Programme (NIP) 2002 – 2007; the 10th EDF Country Strategy Paper and NIP 2008 – 2013, and the Barbados Adaptation Strategy 2006 – 2014, through the Accompanying Measures for Sugar Protocol Countries.

The Country Strategy Paper of the Ninth EDF provided for approximately Euros $10.5 million or (BDS. $27.2 million) in budget support to reform the Health Sector, a project that has been ongoing for the last four years and set to end this year.

The Programme seeks to implement priority areas of the National Strategic Plan for Health, 2002-2012. It also provides for a Technical Cooperation Facility in the amount of Euros $300,000 (BDS. $778,000) to support initiatives complementary to the Health Sector. A major initiative funded by the Facility has been the establishment of the Non-State Actors Advisory Panel.

The 10th EDF covers the period 2008 – 2013 and provides approximately Euros $9.8 million (BDS. $24.7 million), its major focus is on the development of skills which will absorb 85 per cent of the resources under this programme.

According to Senator Boyce “the most significant resources from the European Commission will come from the mechanism, the AMPS. This mechanism arose out of the 2006-2014 Barbados Adaptation Strategy which was established to support Sugar Protocol Countries as a result of a 36 per cent decline in sugar export revenues, provides grant funding to the tune of 37.4 M Euros or BDS. 90M for budget support for the period 2007- 2010. ”

Ambassador Diaz in commending the Government of Barbados, said it “should be recognised for its unwavering guard of an international reputation as a jurisdiction of quality and integrity in the realm of international business and financial services”. He added: “The expansion of this sector is naturally central to the country’s economic diversification strategy and the EC is committed to continue supporting its expansion.”

The EC will be contributing BDS$1.2 M in technical assistance towards the establishment of an international Institute of Financial Risk and Regulation. This institute will share the physical premises of the Cave Hill School of Business of the University of the West Indies, and will have the principle purpose of becoming an internationally accredited centre, developing world-class training regulators, relevant Government officials, private risk managers and general managers in financial service companies in the areas of anti-money laundering, financial regulation, corporate governance and risk management. It will also seek to offer courses that lead to internationally recognised certification in these specific and related areas.”

Through support to the International Business and Financial Services Sector, the programme will contribute significantly to addressing priorities in respect of competitiveness, employment creation and the maintenance of real wages.

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