Basseterre, St. Kitts, May 03, 2020 (SKNIS): The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) has implemented several initiatives aimed at assisting member states during the COVID-19 Pandemic, said Dr. Timothy Antoine, Governor of the banking institution.
“The first is that in March the ECCB disbursed a grant of four (4) million dollars to our member countries. St. Kitts and Nevis received $500,000 from the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank to help ostensibly with the procurement of testing equipment and critical supplies. We have supported loan deferral programmes by our banks and many of you are now taking advantage of that. These programmes are intended to give deferrals up to six (6) months,” said Governor Antoine at the National Emergency Operations Center (NEOC) COVID-19 Daily Briefing for May 02.
“The Central Bank has also cut the borrowing rate for governments and banks from 6.5 to 2 percent. So when the governments or banks come to borrow from the Central Bank they will be paying a lot less than they did before,” the Governor added.
Governor Antoine said the ECCB has been in full teleworking or telecommuting mode since March 2020.
“And this is very important because since late March the Central Bank has been working from home and we continue to operate at a very high level delivering all of our services including clearing payments to our banks which we do daily, issuing currency to the countries as they need to ensure the ATMs are stocked and restocked, advising our governments and overseeing our banks. All of the work continues behind the scene,” said the Governor.
He used the occasion to recognize the staff at the ECCB.
“I really at this moment would like to express my great pride and thanks to the hardworking staff of the ECCB. The truth is ECCB staff work hard all the time and in normal times we put in the hours, but in this unprecedented period – the new normal as it were – many of us are working even harder at home than we did before. So I want to thank management and staff for their hard work,” said Dr. Antoine.