IMF delegation arrives in Dominica as Tropical Storm Erika bills increase

Roseau, Dominica (CMC) — A mission from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has arrived in Dominica to assist the government develop- a macro-economic framework in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Erika last month that resulted in losses and damages estimated at EC$1.298 billion (One EC dollar =US$0.37 cents), Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has announced.

In a radio and television broadcast on Tuesday night, Skerrit said that the IMF delegation, will during its stay here “review and update the island’s macro-economic framework.

“The mission will assist government in preparing a framework that will take into account the significant level of investment that government must make and establish a plan that will guide fiscal operations.”

He said that as far as direct relief to Dominica following the passage of the storm on August 27th that killed more than 30 people, “to date government records cash receipts totalling EC$13.02 million”.

He said this includes EC$5.6 million at the St Kitts-based Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) and EC$7.3 million at the National Bank of Dominica.

Skerrit said the government has started receiving claims from contractors who provided services following the passage of the storm.

“So far claims amount EC$1.8 million have been received, but the figure is expected to rise to as much as EC$12 million,” Skerrit told the nation.

He said that the damage to housing and the accommodation of people left homeless by the storm is estimated at millions of dollars and that the re-location process is continuing.

“Generally speaking, ladies and gentlemen, Dominica faces a housing resettlement programme of monumental proportions,” he said, noting that official figures show that over 890 homes have been destroyed or are uninhabitable.

“The cost of resettlement, reconstruction and repairs to these homes…is at a staggering EC$91.1 million,” he said adding that “several possible housing scenarios have been examined and we are taking them all on board as we fully appreciate the urgency of the need to have families re-settled in as permanent and comfortable a setting as possible”.

He thanked Venezuela for the 300 houses presented to the island and that his administration was now holding negotiations with friendly governments, donor agencies and private developers for long term housing solutions.

“Ninety-one million dollars ladies and gentlemen is a lot of money and the government quite frankly does not have it. We are determined nonetheless to negotiate the best possible terms for securing assistance through grants, loans and joint venture arrangements to effect a major housing re-settlement and reconstruction programme across the length and breadth of Dominica,” he said.

Skerrit said he wanted to make it clear that “this is not a case of government giving people a house”, but would assisting people in getting loans to rebuild.

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