The Contingency Fund, established in 2017, now stands at EC$34.1 million.
This despite the withdrawal of EC$10 million to partially fund the COVID-19 Stimulus Package, i.e. the Response Supplementary Budget in April 2020.
“Our Contingency Fund helped us to withstand the COVID-19 emergency last year and will continue to grow until we need it again,” Finance Minister Camillo Gonsalves said during his 2021 Budget Presentation, Feb.1.
In addition to the Contingency Fund, government has set aside a portion of its development financing to be used in the aftermath of the occurrence of a natural disaster, Gonslaves added.
According to the finance minister, under the World Development Bank’s Catastrophe Deferred Drawdown Option (Cat-DDO) programme, this country can also access US$20 million in rapidly deployed financing.
“Therefore, as of today, the Government has almost EC$90 million or 4.1 percent of GDP in immediately available resources to address emergencies,” Gonsalves said.
This amount, while not a large sum when matched against the magnitude of the challenges that could confront the country, Gonsalves was more than pleased to reveal that it was more than the government had ever put aside to fund emergency responses.
And with the recent seismic activity at the La Soufriere volcano, EC$350,000 in capital spending has been allocated to various monitoring and preparatory exercises and to cover the conduct of preparatory drills and exercises, upgrades to the Belmont Observation Centre and other works related to the placement of various types of monitoring equipment.