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Mr. John Kiff, Jihad Alwazir, Sonja Davidovic, Aquiles Farias, Mr. Ashraf Khan, Mr. Tanai Khiaonarong, Majid Malaika, Mr. Hunter K Monroe, Nobu Sugimoto, Hervé Tourpe, and Peter Zhou
This paper examines key considerations around central bank digital currency (CBDC) for use by the general public, based on a comprehensive review of recent research, central bank experiments, and ongoing discussions among stakeholders. It looks at the reasons why central banks are exploring retail CBDC issuance, policy and design considerations; legal, governance and regulatory perspectives; plus cybersecurity and other risk considerations. This paper makes a contribution to the CBDC literature by suggesting a structured framework to organize discussions on whether or not to issue CBDC, with an operational focus and a project management perspective.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This paper highlights The Bahamas’ Request for Purchase Under the Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI). The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic comes on the heels of the widespread destruction caused by Hurricane Dorian in September 2019. Coupled with domestic containment measures, the collapse in tourism will cause a deep recession. The Bahamian authorities have taken timely and targeted measures to boost health spending and mitigate the socioeconomic impact of the pandemic, supporting jobs and vulnerable segments of the population. The disbursement under the RFI will help boost resources for essential COVID-19-related outlays, strengthen reserves, and catalyze additional support from other international financial institutions, development partners, and the private sector. In order to address the urgent fiscal needs, the central bank will on-lend the disbursement to the Ministry of Finance. The IMF staff is confident that the authorities will pursue appropriate policies for alleviating the impact of the pandemic, based on the country’s strong track record. The Bahamas is assessed to have sustainable debt and adequate capacity to repay the IMF.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
Growth has returned after years of stagnation. The reform-oriented government is tackling structural issues, with notable achievements in the fiscal area. The financial sector is sound and resilient to current stability threats, but credit remains scarce. The offshore sector faces heightened international scrutiny and the government is taking steps to strengthen compliance with AML/CFT and tax transparency standards. Tourism and related foreign investments will support growth in the near-term, while low competitiveness and diversification dampen medium-term prospects. Growth would suffer from a slowdown in the U.S. or higher oil prices, and hurricane vulnerability persists. Reform momentum could stall, undermining fiscal consolidation efforts.
International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept.
Over the last decade, Aruba has faced three recessions resulting in a public debt of approximately 90 percent of GDP. Its current budget deficit needs to be reduced and Aruba should close a fiscal gap of 1.5-2 percent of GDP over the next two to three years to return to a sustainable path. Earlier this year, the authorities have introduced a crisis package, mainly by increasing the turnover taxes. This temporary tax measure should be replaced by a tax reform that will modernize and simplify the current system. The new tax system should not only raise more revenue, but also shift the tax burden away from income and profits toward consumption. The current system is not well equipped to make these changes. In replacing the crisis levy, the Government sees an opportunity to streamline the current tax system, modernize it, and make it more sustainable for the future needs of Aruba.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2018 Article IV Consultation highlights that The Bahamas’ real GDP is estimated to have expanded by 1.3 percent in 2017. Economic activity has been supported by the completion of Baha Mar, new foreign direct investment-financed projects, and post-hurricane reconstruction activity. However, air tourist arrivals declined 4 percent in 2017, reflecting the impact of Hurricane Matthew on hotel infrastructure in the Grand Bahama Island. Real GDP growth is projected at 2.5 percent in 2018 and 2.25 percent in 2019 on the back of stronger growth in the United States; the phased opening of Baha Mar; and a pickup in foreign direct investment. Medium-term growth is projected to remain at 1.5 percent, reflecting significant structural impediments.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2017 Article IV Consultation highlights the continued weak economic activity in The Bahamas in 2016. Hurricane Matthew, which hit The Bahamas in October 2016, significantly impacted tourism activity in 2016 and early 2017. However, completion of the megaresort Baha Mar and posthurricane reconstruction activity gave a boost to job creation: the unemployment rate declined to 9.9 percent in May 2017. Real GDP growth is projected to pick up to 1.75 percent in 2017 and to 2.5 in 2018, driven by a stronger US economy, the phased opening of Baha Mar, and related construction activity. However, medium-term growth would remain low, reflecting significant structural bottlenecks.
Mr. Trevor Serge Coleridge Alleyne, Mr. Jacques Bouhga-Hagbe, Mr. Thomas Dowling, Dmitriy Kovtun, Ms. Alla Myrvoda, Mr. Joel Chiedu Okwuokei, and Mr. Jarkko Turunen
Banks across the Caribbean have lost important Correspondent Banking Relationships (CBRs). The macroeconomic impact has so far been limited, in part because banks either have multiple relationships or have been successful in replacing lost CBRs. However, the cost of services has increased substantially, some services have been cut back, and some sectors have experienced reduced access. Policy options to address multiple drivers, including lower profitability and risk aversion by global banks, require tailored actions by several stakeholders.