Gianpiero Leonici

FLASHBACK: Finance Minister Colm Imbert, left, and Gianpiero Leonici, director representative for the CAF Development Bank of Latin America, after the signing of the Covid-19 loan agreement in June 2020.

The Development Bank of Latin America, also known as CAF, yesterday announced that it had approved a US$175 million ($1.19 billion) loan to Trinidad and Tobago to modernise the country’s transportation infrastructure.

In announcing the approval of the loan, CAF said the modernisation of T&T’s transportation infrastructure would be done through actions related to the development of plans, regulatory and strategic changes, initiatives to modernise processes and investments in the sector.

“The loan will be used for institutional strengthening, particularly updating plans, strategies and modernising the regulatory framework of process management, such as updating laws related to land transport, developing a policy for the maritime sector, plan strategies for public transport and the air sector, quality systems, etc,” CAF said. Additionally, the multilateral lending institution said the loan “will tackle activities to improve the quality of infrastructure, with initiatives such as feasibility studies, modernisation of roads, ports and airports, road maintenance, among others”.

“The quality of transport infrastructure and services are key factors to enhance economic development, productivity and competitiveness. This loan will support the process of improving services and the management of the transportation sector in Trinidad and Tobago and will offer competitive advantages to serve the market and provide better services to its citizens,” said Renny López, interim executive president of CAF.

In the period 2016 to 2020, CAF approved operations for Trinidad and Tobago totalling US$1.15 billion, which represents an average of US$288 million a year.

“This instrument highlights a continuity of loan and technical assistance operations that began in 2019 to strengthen economic and social infrastructure in the country, with an emphasis on roads, air, maritime and tourism sectors, as well as resilience to natural disasters,” CAF said.

The multilateral institution signed two loans with Trinidad and Tobago, one for US$ 100 million and the second for US$ 50 million. The first one will help to mitigate the economic impact of Covid-19, and the second one will contribute to finance the operational health emergency response.

In June 2020, Minister of Finance Colm Imbert signed two loans with CAF totalling US$150 million to respond to the health emergency caused by Covid-19 and to mitigate the economic, financial and social effects of the pandemic in the country.

The first loan, of US$100 million, provided financial support to the Government’s economic programmes, implemented to contain the social, economic and financial emergencies generated by Covid-19, and aims to have a counter cyclical impact on the country’s economy.

The second loan, of US$ 50 million, contributed to strengthening T&T’s health system capacity to respond to the crisis caused by Covid-19, through direct financial resources, and the recognition of expenses and investments aimed at reducing the risk or mitigating the impact of the pandemic on the health of the population.

The two loans were preceded by a US$400,000 donation that CAF made to T&T on April 3 to help in the fight against the spread of the pandemic.

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