SVG to manage public debt using Commonwealth software
Participants of the workshop for the SVG Commonwealth debt management software
October 3, 2023
SVG to manage public debt using Commonwealth software

A state-of-the-art software developed by the Commonwealth Secretariat has been rolled out in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) to transform how the country manages its public debt portfolio of US $2.2 billion.

SVG is the last sovereign state of the Eastern Caribbean Economic and Currency Union (ECCU) to adopt the software, known as Commonwealth Meridian, within its national infrastructure.

The process started with a workshop, co-organised by the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Government of SVG, in Kingstown from September 18 to 29.

Participants attending the workshop included officials from the country’s Debt Management Office, Economic Research and Policy Unit, Treasury, and External Audit Unit.

During the workshop, participants received hands-on training to 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.

Opening the workshop, Harold Lewis, Head of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines’ Debt Management Office, said: “As debt management operations continue to evolve, we see the migration to using Commonwealth Meridian as a key beneficial tool for the Debt Management Office and other key stakeholders.

“Meridian, as a web-based debt system, now provides us with enhanced and user-friendly capabilities to improve data quality in terms of accuracy, timeliness, and completeness; thereby promoting greater debt transparency.”

Commonwealth Meridian replaces its predecessor, the Commonwealth Secretariat: Debt Recording and Management System (CS-DRMS), which has helped SVG record and manage its public debt since 1988.

Speaking about the workshop, Joanne Allin, Business Analyst at the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Debt Management Unit, said that the roll-out of Commonwealth Meridian in SVG marks “a significant milestone” in modernising the country’s debt management operations.

“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 toward achieving debt sustainability and fostering resilient economic growth in the region, ultimately creating a positive impact on the lives of people in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.”

Commenting on the workshop, Juletta Edinborough, Fiscal and Debt Specialist at the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, said: “The implementation of Commonwealth Meridian across the Eastern Caribbean Economic and Currency Union is a major achievement for debt management. Countries can now utilise this modern and powerful system to record and manage their debt portfolios.

“The system offers greater flexibility in the types of instruments recorded, a welcomed innovation, as countries can now record all of their non-traditional domestic debt instruments, which was not possible with the legacy system.”

First developed in 1985, the Commonwealth Secretariat’s debt management system aims to improve economic performance by helping countries record and manage debt.

The upgraded system, Commonwealth Meridian, was launched in 2019 and is already in use in 47 countries around the world.