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CBB 2023: A look back: Part 2

By Central Bank of Barbados

A major investment in BOSS+

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – In April, CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank announced a $100 million purchase of BOSS+ bonds, a five-year Government security that pays 4.5 percent interest per year. The security, which is administered by the Central Bank of Barbados, was first introduced in September 2022.

At a signing ceremony for the purchase, managing director for CIBC FirstCaribbean Donna Wellington explained her organisation’s decision to invest:

“We firmly believe, from all of the signs that we are seeing, that the Barbados economy is on the trajectory to recovery following the challenges of the past few years. Re-entering the capital markets is a strong vote of confidence in Barbados and its prospects for the future.”

That same month, the bank confirmed that it had started to make early repayments of up to $17,500 to some categories of investors who had been issued Series B bonds during the 2018 debt restructuring.

An easier way to apply to purchase foreign currency

In June, the bank upgraded its foreign currency application portal, Forex Online. When it was initially launched in January 2022, the portal could only be used by people applying to purchase foreign currency for one-off payments – those using the FC (Not for Imports) form. However, the upgrade allowed all types of applications, including those to purchase foreign currency to pay for imports – the FC 1 (For Imports) – to make periodic payments to someone overseas – the Form PP – or to purchase foreign currency for investment purposes – the Form FI.

In an interview discussing the upgrades, Darrin Downes, deputy director of the bank’s foreign exchange and export credits, explained that even with the expansion of Forex Online, commercial banks would continue to approve most applications to purchase foreign currency, with only those that fall outside banks’ delegated authority being referred to the Central Bank. He therefore encouraged people to check the emails they receive from Forex Online carefully and to follow up, as necessary, with the financial institution assigned to process their application.

International recognition for Barbados’ banknotes

In June, Barbados’ new banknotes were named “Best New Series” at Reconnaissance International’s Regional Banknote and ID Document of the Year Awards, which took place during the 2023 High-Security Printing Latin America conference in Nassau, The Bahamas.

The notes, which had gone into circulation six months before, had undergone a significant redesign, including a change in orientation from horizontal to vertical, and were the first generation of Barbadian currency printed on polymer, a plastic substrate that is more durable and allows central banks to incorporate stronger and more intuitive security features.

The “Best New Series” designation was the second occasion on which the 2022 banknotes received international recognition. A month earlier, the Central Bank of Barbados had been a finalist for “Best New Currency Public Engagement Programme” at the International Association of Currency Affairs’ (IACA) Excellence in Currency Awards. That award eventually went to the Central Bank of the Philippines.

Other activities

During the quarter, Governor Greenidge had several speaking engagements. In April, he participated in a panel discussion at the 57th meeting of the Network of Central Banks and Finance Ministries in Washington DC. Locally, he was the featured speaker at both his alma mater, The Alleyne School’s, speech day and at the Barbados Chamber of Commerce’s 197th Annual General Meeting. In May, he delivered remarks at the launch of the Crop Over Visual Arts Festival, which the Bank has sponsored for 30 years. He used the occasion to announce that the Bank would be increasing its support from $55,000 to $80,000 per year.

Also in May, the bank hosted another edition of its Caribbean Economic Forum. This time around, the focus was on non-communicable diseases and the economic fallout caused by their prevalence in the region.

In June, the bank welcomed 19 tertiary-level students into its three-month summer internship programme. It chronicled the experiences of several of them in a four-part “Learning on the Job” series.

CBB 2023: A look back: Part 1




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