IMF gives eco­nomic re­form thumbs up

UK Barbados Nation - - NEWS -

THE IN­TER­NA­TIONAL MON­E­TARY FUND (IMF) likes the way the Bar­ba­dos econ­omy is be­ing fixed, call­ing it an “ex­cel­lent start”.

But as IMF mis­sion leader Dr Bert van Selm lauded the im­ple­men­ta­tion of this “am­bi­tious and com­pre­hen­sive eco­nomic re­form pro­gramme”, he urged Gov­ern­ment to “fur­ther re­duce un­cer­tainty” by con­clud­ing debt restruc­tur­ing terms with for­eign cred­i­tors.

The of­fi­cial also said “Bar­ba­dos has also made good progress to­wards meet­ing end-de­cem­ber 2018 struc­tural bench­marks un­der the [Ex­tended Fund Fa­cil­ity]”.

He was speak­ing af­ter an IMF team ended a four-day visit to the is­land last Fri­day.

While prais­ing the progress made with boost­ing the for­eign re­serves, com­plet­ing a do­mes­tic debt ex­change, and cut­ting the pub­lic sec­tor wage bill, van Selm also cau­tioned there were “some risks” to the planned cor­po­rate tax cut.

More than dou­bled

Re­gard­ing dis­cus­sions with for­eign cred­i­tors, he said: “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; com­ple­tion of the ex­ter­nal debt restruc­tur­ing would help fur­ther re­duce un­cer­tainty.”

The IMF said its team came here at Gov­ern­ment’s re­quest to dis­cuss im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Bar­ba­dos Eco­nomic

Re­cov­ery and Trans­for­ma­tion (BERT) plan, which is be­ing sup­ported by the

IMF un­der the Ex­tended Fund Fa­cil­ity (EFF).

“The coun­try’s in­ter­na­tional re­serves, which reached a low of US$220 mil­lion (five to six weeks of im­port cov­er­age) at end-may 2018, have more than dou­bled since then, amount­ing to more than US$500 mil­lion

Con­tin­ued on next page.

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