IMF commends Barbados’ economic reform progress

From left: Minister in the Ministry of Finance Ryan Straughn, Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley and International Monetary Fund Resident Representative Dr Bert van Selm at a press briefing on the first review of Barbados’ Economic Program under the Extended Fund Facility. (Photo: Twitter @bvanselm)

Barbados continues to make good progress in implementing its comprehensive economic reform programme, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The pronouncement comes after a team from the IMF visited that country’s capital, Bridgetown, September 3-6, to discuss the implementations of Barbados’ Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) plan, supported by the IMF under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF). The team, led by Bert van Selm, also had a concluding meeting with Prime Minister Mia Mottley on the final day of the mission 

“All indicative targets for end-June under the EFF have been met. The target for the Government’s primary surplus was met with a wide margin, with the Government running a primary surplus of 2.5 per cent of (annual) GDP in the first quarter of FY2019/20,” a statement from the IMF pointed out.

“This bodes well for achieving the Government’s primary surplus target of six per cent of GDP for FY2019/20. International reserves were also well over programme targets at end-June,” the IMF continued.

In addition, the IMF noted that Barbados has made significant progress in implementing structural benchmarks under the EFF. These include concluding a review of the island’s tax system and Governor General Sandra Mason gazetting the Financial Management and Audit Act.

The fund said it looks forward to the Government of Barbados maintaining good-faith discussions with its external creditors, while explaining that open dialogue and sharing of information will be critical factors in completing an orderly debt-restructuring process. 

“The team is looking forward to return to Barbados in November to conduct the discussions for the Article IV and second review under the EFF and would like to thank the authorities and the technical team for their openness and candid discussions,” the statement ended.