Premier and Minister of Finance Dr Natalio Wheatley has suggested that there may be a need for an agency similar to the Recovery and Development Agency (RDA) after the organisation gets dissolved in the near future.
He said a similar agency could assist government ministries with developing formal project plans that lending institutions require before they give loans to the BVI.
Premier Wheatley made the suggestion during a meeting of the Standing Finance Committee because he said many budgeted projects are not executed because ministries find it challenging to develop project plans needed to approach lending agencies.
But he said when the RDA takes on projects, they move more quickly so a similar agency could help ministries with project planning so government can get loans.
According to the Premier, while that agency is focusing on planning projects to meet the timeline of lending agencies, the ministries could focus on their operational needs.
It’s the Finance Ministry’s job
But Opposition Leader Julian Fraser was not in favour of the Premier’s idea. He told the Standing Finance Committee that it is the Finance Ministry’s responsibility to ensure that the projects get rolled out, and they should not rely on the other ministries to do so because it would not happen.
He also said the Finance Ministry needs to take charge so that loans are received and the territory can move forward with development.
The RDA was formed in the aftermath of the 2017 hurricanes and was tasked with specific projects aimed at rebuilding the BVI.
The agency has completed many projects to date and the initial plan after its formation in April 2018 was for the agency to be dissolved after five years. However, Cabinet decided back in October to extend the life of the RDA for an additional two years and eight months.