The Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF) 9th program of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) was officially launched here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines yesterday April 25, 2018.

Since its inception in 1979, the BNTF Programme has been contributing to poverty reduction in targeted communities by providing infrastructure and livelihood enhancement services nationally and regionally.

Monica La Bennett-Vice-President (Operations) of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), in addressing the launching ceremony held at the National Insurance Services (NIS) conference room said that the Board of the CDB in March 2017 approved the 9th cycle of the BNTF.

She said that under BNTF 9 several improvements have been made, hence beneficiaries and governments across participating nations can expect a more nimble BNTF program with an even bolder agenda for tackling poverty in the region.

La Bennett said that with the additional funding approved by Special Development Fund (SDF) contributors, National BNTF projects in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and eight other countries stand to benefit from a grant allocation of some US$40.8 million, of which St. Vincent and the Grenadines receives an initial amount of US$2.95 million.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines is further eligible to receive a portion of an unallocated incentive amount of US$5.2 million to be received at mid-term based on project performance.

According to La Bennett, the funds are to be carefully targeted through an evidence based country policy framework or action plan which responds directly to poverty, particularly in rural areas through investments in community infrastructure and related services in water and sanitation, access roads, drainage, education and human resource development, as well as livelihood enhancement.

Meanwhile, Minister of Agriculture, Rural Transformation, Forestry, Fisheries, Industry and Labour, Saboto Caesar in his remarks at the ceremony said that one of the central tenets of the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is the addressing of the issue of poverty and poverty alleviation.

Minister Caesar thanked the CDB for being an excellent partner with the government here in advancing its thrust towards reducing and eliminating poverty.

The BNTF 9 program is schedule for completion by December 31, 2020.

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