Antigua and Barbuda implements Commonwealth Meridian to enhance debt management

Antigua and Barbuda has embarked on a significant endeavour to manage its public debt portfolio, amounting to US$1.54 billion, by implementing Commonwealth Meridian, a state-of-the-art debt management system.

The process commenced with a two-week workshop held in partnership between the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Government of Antigua and Barbuda in the capital city of Saint John’s from 19 to 30 June 2023.

The workshop aimed to facilitate a seamless integration of the Commonwealth Meridian into the national infrastructure. Debt officers received hands-on training to effectively record, report, analyse and manage various types of debt – encompassing external and domestic, as well as guaranteed and non-guaranteed public debt – using the software’s robust capabilities.

In particular, the workshop programme covered various functionalities offered by the Commonwealth Meridian system, including disbursements, debt servicing and liability management operations, equipping participants with the tools to enhance their debt management practices.

During the workshop, the Financial Secretary of Antigua and Barbuda, Mrs Rasona Davis-Crump, said:

“Commonwealth Meridian has many new features, including interface capabilities with various finance management systems, that will help the Debt Management Unit improve data quality in terms of accuracy, timeliness, and completeness; thereby promoting debt transparency.

“The interactive dashboard is a welcomed tool for monitoring debt indicators, further assisting senior management with key debt management decisions.”

The enhanced Commonwealth Meridian software replaces its predecessor, the Commonwealth Secretariat: Debt Recording and Management System (CS-DRMS), which has served as Antigua and Barbuda’s debt recording tool since 1988.

In support of the workshop, Mr Mac Banda, acting Adviser and Head of the Secretariat’s Debt Management Unit, said:

“The roll-out of Commonwealth Meridian in Antigua and Barbuda marks a significant milestone in modernising the country’s debt management practices. By leveraging advanced technology and comprehensive training, the initiative will improve efficiency, accuracy and transparency in managing the country’s debt.

“This will go a long way in achieving debt sustainability and fostering resilient economic growth, ultimately creating a positive impact on the lives of Antiguans and Barbudans.”

The workshop participants primarily include officials from the Debt Management Office and Treasury Department of Antigua and Barbuda, along with representatives from the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank.

First developed in 1985, the Commonwealth Secretariat’s debt management system aims to improve economic performance by helping countries record and manage debt. It is already in use in 47 countries around the world.

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