PARAMARIBO, Suriname, CMC – The Washington based International Monetary Fund (IMF), says that it will cooperate with the government of Suriname in adjusting the measures to be taken that are part of an agreed economic recovery plan.
The announcement was made on Friday in New York as the lending instruction’s managing director, Kristalina Georgieva, met with President Chandrikapersad Santokhi.
“The IMF will continue to support Suriname in implementing its Recovery Plan. In light of high food and fuel prices, I indicated our flexibility to work with Suriname to adapt the Fund programme to help the Surinamese people,” Georgieva tweeted after the meeting with Santokhi.
The Surinamese government last week indicated that it would urge the IMF to make changes to the recovery plan as its implementation weighs heavily on the people.
Among other things, the increase in electricity rates by 15 per cent at the beginning of this month is heavy for a large part of society. Suriname’s largest trade union federation C-47 has demanded that the increase be reversed.
If this is not done within two weeks, the trade union will conduct protest demonstrations. C-47 noticed that consultations have been held with business organisations and other civil society organisations, who unanimously believe that the increased electricity tariffs are killing.
During the discussion in New York, IMF officials stated that the Fund sees the consequences of the war in Ukraine, in many countries.
“And we are hopeful that we will find ways to provide more support in a way that is consistent with the goals of the authorities’ programme,” Georgieva said.
During the visit of Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte earlier this week, President Santokhi asked him to somehow put in a good word with the IMF board to effect the adjustment.
The IMF pointed out that further work is needed for adjustment. For example, a debt restructuring agreement must be concluded with the external donors, including China, India and other creditors. It will then build on the progress made with the Paris club. The Fund emphasises that it will continue to work with Suriname to get that programme back on track. Agreements have now been made with the IMF to get in touch within a few weeks about the agreement and how to adapt it to Surinamese needs.
The head of state also spoke with the managing director about global problems such as climate change, high export and transport prices, and the consequences of the war in Ukraine. For a small country like Suriname that is already in a difficult financial position, the challenges that have arisen could have catastrophic consequences.
President Santokhi indicated that the government has promised the Surinamese people prosperity, but that the approach must be adjusted in view of this changed reality.
“The pressure on our people is enormous. It is also necessary to adapt the IMF programme to this new reality,” said Santokhi.