CDB to enforce stricter supervision of projects

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Ahead of Antigua and Barbuda rolling out several projects financed by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), one of the institution’s senior executives has dispelled the notion of any “leakage” of the institution’s funds by the country’s governments over the years.
Many residents have long feared that large, public sector capital projects  easily give rise to funds being redirected to “non-approved” initiatives and even into the pockets of public officials as well as political lackeys.
Daniel Best, director of projects told OBSERVER media after the CDB’s annual news conference in Barbados, Wednesday, that rigorous checks and balances ensure “every dollar” approved for, and disbursed to Antigua and Barbuda, as well as other borrowing member countries (BMC), is used for the intended purpose.
 “The money we move into a country is tracked very closely. Our officers are in-country ensuring that the work done aligns with the claims submitted or we would not disburse funds,” he stated.
According to the CDB executive, the bank has a sizeable portfolio in Antigua and Barbuda – two road infrastructure rehabilitation projects, an education project that provides training for teachers and school administrators, along with the rehabilitation and reconstruction project in Barbuda.
He acknowledged that limited human resources and capital often make it challenging for governments across the region to deliver projects “on time”, so the CDB will focus its lens on implementation. This calls for the bank enhancing its supervision, in country.
“Our officers will be able to spend more time in the country, more time liaising with their counterparts on the project,” Best explained. “I feel confident the changes we are making will redound to far more timely implementation in countries.”
And even if the Antigua and Barbuda government does not appreciate the supervision, residents who are to benefit from the initiatives will surely welcome it.
Case in point: the road works project which has been touted since 2016, with it expanding from a U.S. $20 million project funded by a grant from the UK, into an initiative that required the Gaston Browne administration to borrow U.S $45.9 million from the CDB.
That loan was approved since March 2017, but to date, the CDB has released approximately U.S. $3 million as an advance disbursement for the project, to the bank’s director of projects.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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