Minister Hoefdraad clarifies agreements with IMF
“The Surinamese authorities and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have no other concrete agreements with regards to the execution of the Stability and Recovery Plan,” said Finance Minister Gillmore Hoefdraad in a press release. “The government is busy executing the program and is well on track,” said Minister Hoefdraad who added that the recent visit from a team from the IMF was a routine Article IV mission aimed at investigating the economic developments and prospects in general. The minister pointed out that the authorities have explained to the IMF team that the projected drop in economic growth was too low and that the projections should be revised. If it becomes clear in a later phase that the projected figure was too low, the IMF must admit that it was wrong and the proposed measures should be programmed again. The authorities explained to the IMF that the country’s economy would risk ending up in a deeper recession. “The Surinamese program has delivered results in crucial areas which the government deems as a priority to balance the economy and to encourage economic growth. These are: strongly pushing back the budget deficit, building up the monetary reserves, liberating the exchange rate, improving the social cushion and preparing legislative reforms and institutional strengthening,” said Minister Hoefdraad who added that the authorities were surprised to hear that the IMF team had presented a very technical definition of international reserves to journalists and legislators.
According to the IMF team, Suriname only has enough international reserves to cover 1 month of imports. The minister explained that the international reserves have in fact been boosted. “At the end of October the reserves which were published by the Central Bank of Suriname (CBvS) and which have been checked by the technical assistance missions of the IMF were $371 million. These international reserves were in line with the definitions that the IMF always utilizes. The Central Bank is busy rebuilding the international reserves steadily. The dwindling imports which give a much more realistic image of our import needs indicate a import coverage of about 4.5 months,” said Minister Hoefdraad. He pointed out that the IMF team did not share its calculations and macro charts with the government which is highly unusual during a Article IV mission. Minister Hoefdraad made it clear that the government and the IMF are on the same page on many points but that they also have a serious difference of opinion on many things.