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IMF returns to Barbados for consultations

Friday, June 06, 2014    

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados - A team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) yesterday continued talks with island officials as part of a monitoring programme on fiscal measures aimed at restructuring government finances, agreed to last year.

Headed by Deputy Division Chief, of the Western Hemisphere, Nicole Laframboise, IMF representatives are meeting persons from the Ministry of Finance, after having talks with Chamber of Commerce and Central Bank officials separately on Wednesday, and private bankers Tuesday.

The IMF visit is seen as a follow-up to a February consultation report when it stated that the island was suffering from a weak macroeconomic performance that began since 2008 and a contraction of the economy in 2013 by 0.7 per cent.

Chairman of the Private Sector Agency, Alex McDonald, who participated in the Wednesday talks with the IMF told local media, "The talks were wide-ranging and informative on both sides."

The IMF representatives reportedly told stakeholders in the meetings so far, that they wanted direct feedback on the performance of Barbados' fiscal and economic strategies.

The IMF February report followed a December visit by a team, also led by Laframboise.

At the end of that visit, the team stated, "The Barbados economy continues to face considerable economic challenges. The authorities agreed with staff on the need for urgent policy adjustments and deeper reforms over an extended period to restore fiscal and external sustainability. Weak exports and tourism arrivals, slow growth, and expansive fiscal policy have led to a sharp increase in public debt and fiscal financing pressures."

--CMC

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