As the Regional Government Securities Market (RGSM) approaches its 15th anniversary, member states are celebrating their success in raising over $10.6 billion in Treasury bills and Bonds to finance government operations.
The RGSM was established in November 2002 and has served as an important source of financing for governments at a time when access to bilateral and multilateral assistance has diminished.
The Regional Debt Coordinating Committee (RDCC) has direct oversight for the RGSM. It comprises the senior officials from the Ministry Finance of the countries of the ECCU and the Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB). The current chairman is Dr Aidan Harrigan, Permanent Secretary of Anguilla.
At its first meeting for 2017, the RDCC reported that the value of bids from investors in the regional market increased by 2.1 per cent in 2016 to $1.5 billion. The increase was realised in spite of the decline in the number of securities issued on the RGSM, which fell to 51 from 53. In light of the fall in deposit rates at commercial banks, investors were able to seize the opportunity to increase their returns by purchasing government securities.
However, the RDCC is concerned with the recent decline in the number of bond auctions on the RGSM, as only three bonds were issued in 2016. The Committee has agreed to a set of reforms to be implemented by the respective Debt Management Offices and the ECCB, with the support of the ECCB and the IMF and funding from the Government of Canada.
The RDCC is encouraging all governments to promote the use of the RGSM through the development of formal investor relations programmes. This should be supported by the timely dissemination of a minimum set of fiscal and debt indicators on a monthly basis.