Government is committed to the continued growth of Dominica’s national GDP while reducing the country’s national debt.
Dominica’s economy has been severely impacted by recent global crises and natural disasters. The passage of Tropical Storm Erika in 2015, Hurricane Maria in 2017 which wiped out over 100 percent the national GDP, and the ongoing covid-19 pandemic have all had negative effects on the country’s economic growth.
However, a recent consultation from International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected to see a growth of over four percent in 2023-2024.
Minister for Finance, Economic Development, Climate Resilience and Social Security, Hon. Dr. Irving McIntyre says growth of 6.9 percent and 5.7 percent was recorded in 2021 and 2022 respectively; growth which has been credited to initiatives taken by Government in various sectors such as agriculture and tourism.
“Dominica’s economy grew by an estimated 6.9 percent in 2021 and 5.7 percent in 2022. The growth was driven mainly by the construction of climate resilient infrastructure, a substantial rise in agriculture outputs and a rebound in tourism since the lifting of restrictions related to covid-19. Government has been able to implement its Public Sector Investment Programme and respond to the recent economic shocks because of high CBI revenue. Government’s debt is projected to decline slightly to 98.7 percent at the end of the calendar year 2023,” Dr. McIntyre stated.
Dr. McIntyre says steps are being taken to reduce the national debt by increasing investments in sustainable development areas. The recently approved debt repayment will assist government in achieving that goal.
“We are taking action to reduce our debt as percentage of GDP by increasing our investments, particularly in sustainable development enablers and initiatives in order to grow Dominica’s GDP. Secondly, limiting additional borrowing and thirdly through the recently approved and soon to be established Debt Repayment Plan to accelerate repayment of debt. The fund has also recommended that Government continues to implement measures to reduce recurrent expenditure and increase revenues. Some recommendations were made by the fund, however these were merely suggestions and cabinet will have to decide upon a plan of action,” the Finance Minister explained.
Dr. McIntyre added that while Dominica’s economic outlook is positive, Government is mindful of global issues and the threat that natural disasters pose to Dominica.
“Government was commended for its investments and special initiatives to facilitate the growth of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). Overall the economic outlook for Dominica is positive; although we need to remain mindful of the volatile global environment as well as possible impacts of future natural disasters. The IMF advised the continued implementation of growth projects such as the International Airport and the Geothermal Development Project, while we work to continue to improve Government’s fiscal position and support the vulnerable. By and large, we are satisfied and in broad agreement with the assessment of the IMF. Our next step is to review the specific recommendations within the context of our own plans, most of these will focus on enhancing growth opportunities and measures to improve fiscal and debt sustainability,” the Minister added.
At a Development Partners Coordination Meeting held last month, Prime Minister Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit stated that had it not been for the occurrence of natural disasters and other external shocks, Government would have achieved a debt to GDP ratio of below forty percent as he believes that his Government has been responsible with its expenditure.