IMF hails progress
BARBADOS continues to make good progress in implementing its ambitious and comprehensive economic reform program signed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) last year.
This is according to IMF official, Bert Van Selm, who headed a mission to Barbados recently at the request of the Prime Minister, Mia Mottley.
He said in a press statement that all indicative targets for end-December under the EFF have been met.
“In addition, two key pieces of legislation – the Public Financial Management Act, and the Town and Country Planning Act—were adopted in early 2019,” he said.
At the request of the Government of Barbados, an IMF team led by Mr. van Selm visited Bridgetown from February 5–8, to discuss implementation of Barbados’ Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) plan, supported by the IMF under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF). A concluding meeting was held with Prime Minister Mottley in Washington DC on Monday.
He said that the programme target for Net International Reserves was met by a wide margin, as was the target for the Central Bank of Barbados’ Net Domestic Assets (NDA).
The target for the primary surplus for end-December 2018 was also met by a wide margin.
“Good progress has been made in implementing end-December 2018 structural benchmarks under the EFF. Two key pieces of legislation – the Public Financial Management Act, and the Town and Country Planning Act – were adopted in early 2019.
According to the IMF official, “preparation of the budget for FY2019/20 targeting a primary surplus of six per cent of GDP is well under way. 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 work force at state-owned enterprises, should help achieve this target.”
A detailed assessment of the budget will be made when it is finalized.
Van Selm said that progress is 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.
“The team is looking forward to return to Barbados in May to conduct the discussions for the first review under the EFF and would like to thank the authorities and the technical team for their openness and candid discussions,” he added.