IMF pleased with progress in turning around Barbados economy

Friday, February 15, 2019

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says Barbados continues to make “good progress” in its efforts to turn around an ailing economy supported by a multimillion-dollar Extended Fund Facility (EEF).

An IMF delegation, led by Bert van Selm, has ended a four-day visit to the island at the invitation of the Mia Mottley Administration, discussing the implementation of the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) plan that is supported by the US$290-million EEF.

The Washington-based financial institution said in a statement Tuesday that a concluding meeting was held with Prime Minister Mottley in Washington on Monday.

“Barbados continues to make good progress in implementing its ambitious and comprehensive economic reform programme,” van Selm said in a statement.

“All indicative targets for end-December under the EFF have been met. The programme target for net international reserves was met by a wide margin, as was the target for the Central Bank of Barbados's Net Domestic Assets (NDA). The target for the primary surplus for end-December 2018 was also met by a wide margin.”

He said good progress has been made in implementing end-December 2018 structural benchmarks under the EFF and that two key pieces of legislation, namely the Public Financial Management Act and the Town and Country Planning Act, were adopted in early 2019.

The IMF official said that preparation of the budget for the financial year 2019-20 targeting a primary surplus of six per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) is well underway.

“Full year effects of reforms set in motion during the current (2018/19) fiscal year, including the introduction of several new taxes and ongoing streamlining of public sector workforce at State-owned enterprises, should help achieve this target. A detailed assessment of the budget will be made when it is finalised.

“Progress being made by the authorities in furthering good-faith discussions with external creditors is welcome. Continuing open dialogue and sharing of information will remain important in concluding an orderly debt restructuring process,” he added.

The head of the IMF delegation said that the team is looking forward to returning to Barbados in May to conduct the discussions for the first review under the EFF.

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