$74 MILLION CASH PAYOUT NEXT MONTH FOR SERIES B BONDHOLDERS.
A big cash windfall is coming for thousands of Barbadians who had to accept Series B bonds instead of money when the Government was strapped for funds five years ago during the debt restructuring process.
In her budget presentation in the House of Assembly on Tuesday, Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley announced that next month, the Government will make a partial payment on the principal of $74.8 million to 5 407 Series B bondholders who were on the register as of March 31.
“Each will receive a payment of $17 500. We took no pride in having to give those persons Series B Bonds when we inherited the difficult moment that caused us to go into debt restructuring,” she announced.
Furthermore, she outlined that of the 5 407 bondholders, 2 627 will be repaid “absolutely in full”.
“This is what good stewardship of the people’s money is about. We make promises and ask people to carry a burden, you remember them, you come back to them and do right by them,” an animated Mottley said.
Addressing the $1 500 tax-free payments coming to public workers as a result of the wages settlement with labour representatives last week, Prime Minister Mottley said temporary workers who were recruited to the ashfall clean-up project, the Ministry of Public Works’ Beautification Project and those that were attached to the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 response initiative will also be receiving $1 500 payments from the Government.
The Minister of Finance revealed that the tax-free payout to workers will cost the Government $52 million while the pay increase agreed to for public officers will add $80 million to the Government’s annual wages bill.
“Which country does that in the middle of an IMF programme?” she asked rhetorically.
During her four-hour-long presentation, Mottley said her aims were to finance a robust capital works programme, reduce the debt, do right by the workers of Barbados, undertake the necessary reform of state enterprises while ensuring the adjustment is not hard on workers, and pursue economic competitiveness.
She announced there will be a restructuring of the Enterprise Growth Fund while the Central Bank will work with the administration to expand the local capital market and stimulate greater investment in government paper.
Against that background, she said the Government will soon be issuing treasury bonds, which are short-term investment instruments.
Mottley also disclosed that institutional investors such as commercial banks were purchasing the Boss-Plus bonds which she regarded as an indicator of improved confidence in Barbados and the management of the economy.