St Lucia reaffirms diplomatic support for Taiwan

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President of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen and Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, Philip Pierre
      • Constituency Development Programme (CDP), funded by Taiwan – $28.5 million
      • Taiwan Budget Financing – $191.82 million to be financed from the Republic of China on Taiwan (EXIM Bank)
      • Grant Funding – Republic of China on Taiwan (ROCT) – $52.623 million

By Caribbean News Global contributor

CASTRIES, St Lucia – Prime minister and minister for finance, economic development and the youth economy, delivering his maiden budget policy address, “Empowering our People – Transforming our Economy” in parliament Tuesday April 26, and as part of his government foreign policy agenda reaffirmed diplomatic support for Taiwan, outlined major financing commitments.

In a previous article, Caribbean News Global (CNG) noted that:

“The positive social and financial impact of the Taiwanese government, specifically during the last 12 months [agriculture, housing, education, loan financing] has been exceptional. The next step is most essential, as Taiwan continues global advancement and was recently ranked 16th among the world’s economies in merchandise trade in 2021.”

Regarding “Empowering our People – Transforming our Economy” the prime minister said:

“We are grateful to the government of the people of the Republic of China (Taiwan), who have been dear and sincere friends of the people of Saint Lucia. We, therefore, wish to reaffirm our diplomatic support to the government and the Republic of China Taiwan.”

Delivering his maiden budget policy address Tuesday, prime minister Pierre also recalled:

“In our Manifesto for the 2021 elections, we declared that economic diplomacy would be at the forefront of our foreign policy agenda. Saint Lucia’s foreign policy will therefore be one that pursues an economic and developmental agenda by intensifying relationships with old friends and non-traditional allies, and the reorienting of the diplomatic service machinery. […]

Secured concessionary funding

“My government has secured concessionary funding from the Republic of China Taiwan, and others, to cushion some of the negative impacts of Covid-19,” prime minister Pierre noted,” compounded by the Ukraine/Russia conflict, which has already resulted in higher food and fuel prices.”

Economic policies

“In this budget,” finance minister Pierre said, “we have crafted a set of realistic policies that will provide relief for the public and private sectors battered by the effects of the pandemic and now the Russia/Ukraine war.” He further stated: “Securing debt sustainability whilst achieving high levels of economic growth that supports economic transformation has been identified as means to reduce unemployment and improve the quality of life of our citizens.”

Within the “relief measures in the budget” and “to keep the prices of these items unchanged, the government has absorbed the increases in prices at an estimated cost of $9.8 million.”

Latest increases for which protection has been provided:

  • Rice has increased by 15 percent,
  • Flour by 31 percent;
  • Brown sugar by 28 percent, and
  • White sugar by 75 percent.

CDP funded by Taiwan

An amount of $28.5 million has been allocated towards the Constituency Development Programme (CDP), being financed by the Republic of China Taiwan and is aimed at allowing elected parliamentarians the opportunity and ability to fund small projects of their choice in their constituency.

Taiwan budget financing

For the first time, 80 percent of financing needs are programmed from concessionary loans instead of shorter term-higher-cost bonds and treasury bills financing, for the 2022/23 fiscal year.

The prime minister’s budget policy address announced:

“ Thirty-eight [38%] of these loans are expected to come from the Republic of China Taiwan (ROCT) $18.13 million, representing outstanding amounts to be disbursed from existing and $173.69 million from loans to be incurred this financial year.

“Over 80 percent of our needs are programmed to be financed from concessional loans (with 38 percent of that financing from the Republic of China Taiwan,)” prime minister Pierre reiterated.

“I wish to point out that of the $191.82 million to be financed from the Republic of China on Taiwan (EXIM Bank), $18.13 million represents outstanding amounts to be disbursed from existing loans. 

“The balance, $173.693 million in total, will be used to finance various projects amounting to $80.753 million while $92.94 million will be provided as budgetary support for operations.”

Further to the financial resources to meet development needs in the 2022/23 budget – grants amounting to $176.681 million from friendly governments and multilateral institutions including Republic of China on Taiwan (ROCT) – $52.623 million.

South-South cooperation

Continuing the foreign policy ethos, prime minister Pierre, said:

“We will continue to strengthen our relationship with our traditional allies as we continue to build on our south-south cooperation. In this regard, we call on the speedy resolution of the situation in Venezuela and the removal of the embargo on the people of Cuba in keeping with our policy on non-interference in the internal affairs of sovereign countries.” 

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