BVI News

Gov’t awaits UK money; monitors hurricane funds

Premier Smith. File photo

The Government has revealed that while it awaits policy changes that will allow it to benefit from the UK aid budget, it has, in the meantime, convened a special board to monitor the spending of funds received for hurricane recovery.

Premier Dr. D Orlando Smith, who made the disclosure during a national broadcast on Sunday evening said discussion is still ongoing at the international level on the UK’s £13bn aid budget.

“That is something that is being discussed and I don’t think it is quite finalized as yet. But, it is something the people in the international bodies are positive about and it is being discussed,” he stated.

After Hurricane Irma devastated the British Virgin Islands and other UK Overseas Territories in September, reports emerged that countries like the BVI were deemed too rich to benefit from the UK’s £13bn aid budget.

However, earlier this month it was announced that the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) had changed the rules so that short-term financial aid can be given to middle-income countries like the BVI.

Board to Monitor Spending

The Premier said in the meantime, his government has set up a special board to monitor the spending of money received from other donor organizations and money lenders, to help with hurricane recovery efforts.

“What is important is transparency and accountability and so, what we will do and what is expected of us as a country, is to put in place a process whereby when funds come in, for the recovery process, it is put in place in a circumscribed way.”

“In fact, there is a special fund set up, where all the monies received, and there is a board who looks after it, to make sure what is received, it is spent in the way it has to be spent according to the program that is outlined by the Government and agreed by the board,” Premier Smith explained.

He said it is important for donors to be able to track how their money is being spent.

“If we don’t do that, people are not sure where the money is going then they won’t contribute…[they need to know] that their monies are properly spent, properly accounted for,” he stated.

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