The Commonwealth Secretariat has partnered with the British Virgin Islands to conduct a full assessment of its debt management practices, as part of a reform process aimed at achieving economic sustainability.
At the request of the region’s finance ministries, the Commonwealth Secretariat organized a workshop from 18th to 29th September 2023 to evaluate all public debt management functions and processes with a focus on identifying strengths and areas for improvement.
The findings of the assessment report will guide a Commonwealth-backed reform, designed to enhance the ability of the British Virgin Islands to manage its public debt over the next five years.
Acting Deputy Financial Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Dr. Drexel Glasgow said the objective of the assessment was to identify core strengths and areas for improvement for further technical assistance over the next five years.
He said the programme of reforms will help strengthen capacity and institutions to help the Virgin Islands manage its public debt effectively and sustainably.
Dr. Glasgow said, “This assessment will not only be instrumental in evaluating the Territory’s debt management practices but also identifies areas for improvement along with other recommendations. The analysis from the report will be a core document guiding any reforms in debt management.”
“Following submission of the assessment, the Commonwealth Secretariat will develop a five-year programme to facilitate the implementation of the measures identified,” Dr. Glasgow added.
The Government of the Virgin Islands commenced an aggressive approach to reform informed by the recommendations in the British Virgin Islands Commission of Inquiry Report since 2022.
It is in line with this Reform that the Government requested assistance from the Commonwealth Secretariat to undertake a Debt Management Performance Self-Assessment of the Territory.
Adviser and Acting Head of the Debt Management Unit of the Commonwealth Secretariat, Mr. Mac Banda said this public debt assessment forms part of a longstanding relationship with the Ministry of Finance of the Government of the Virgin Islands.
Mr. Banda said, “In recent past, our DMU has offered extensive technical assistance, capacity-building support, and advice on debt management systems to the BVI. This includes our flagship tool, Commonwealth Meridian, which the BVI has been using for public debt management.
“I am pleased that the Ministry of Finance has chosen to partner with the Commonwealth Secretariat on this new journey, which will undoubtedly impact not only the economy but the lives of people in the British Virgin Islands.”
The team also met with Premier and Minister of Finance, Honourable Dr. Natalio Wheatley to discuss some preliminary findings of the assessment.
The Premier expressed his gratitude to the Commonwealth Secretariat for their continued partnership and support, as the assessment comes at a critical time for the Virgin Islands.