Prime Minister Allen Michael Chastanet has introduced a Bill establishing the Saint Lucia National Economic Fund and strengthening oversight over the management of Citizenship by Investment funds.
The Prime Minister noted there are issues relating to governance, transparency and accountability that must be addressed noting that “In relation to governance, the Bill identifies the Fund as a special fund that will be used to advance loans and provide investment for Government approved capital projects, reduce debt, purchase Government bonds or for monies required for a purpose approved by Cabinet”.
The Minister of Finance is authorized under the Bill to make an Order that will identify the Government approved capital projects once approval is obtained from Cabinet. The monies of the Fund will be the qualifying investments of cash that is currently stated under the Act and these monies will be deposited to the credit of the Minister in a financial institution approved by the Minister.”
The Bill will establish the Saint Lucia National Economic Fund Board which will include: The Director of Finance as Chairperson, the Budget Director, the Chief Economist, a representative from Invest Saint Lucia, a representative from the Ministry of Commerce, a representative from the Attorney General’s Chambers and a representative from the private sector.
The Board is expected to manage monies and the business of the fund; consider and approve an application for a loan or an investment in a Government approved capital project; monitor the use of the loan and ensure repayment of the loan, create and maintain a Sinking Fund and carry out other functions required for the proper functioning of the Fund.
The Prime Minister explained that the Bill also laid out clear application procedures for obtaining loans and investments from the Fund. The Board will also have to submit independent auditor’s reports and annual reports.
The Prime Minister added that the current National Economic Fund Bill passed on Tuesday makes the process for the use of CIP funds transparent and accountable.