IMF to Send Delegation to Barbados
WASHINGTON, United States (CMC) —
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says it will be sending a delegation to Barbados on Tuesday to assist the island in its plans for revitalising the ailing economy.
Prime Minister Mia Mottley has already indicated that her administration would not be averse to seeking support from the Washington-based financial institution. IMF Managing Director, Christine Lagarde, quoted Mottley as saying that the Barbados economy has been going through significant challenges for some years.
“The authorities are developing an economic reform plan designed to address these challenges, and they have asked the international community and the International Monetary Fund to assist them as they put the economy back on a path to recovery.
Lagrande said that an IMF team led by Bert van Selm will be visiting Bridgetown to start discussions on how the Washington-based financial institution can support the authorities’ economic plan. “Our ultimate goal is to help Barbados achieve higher living standards and more inclusive growth for the years ahead.” On Friday, Mottley, announced that her new Barbados Labour Party (BLP) administration would suspend payments due to domestic and external creditors. “Similarly we will endeavour to make scheduled domestic interest payments. However domestic creditors will be asked to roll over principal maturity until we reach a restructuring agreement,” Mottley said, following a meeting with the Social Partnerships.
“The truth is our debt has been unsustainable territory for some time. The arrears represent an effective default by the previous government to Barbadians,” she said, noting that these arrears were BDS$1.7 billion at the end of September last year and that new figures are expected next week.
“We have never taken this type of creditor action like that before and our action today are designed my friends to ensure that we will never ever have to do so again,” she said, hinting at stringent policies ahead for Barbadians. She said the new measures will be introduced in a ministerial statement in two weeks and will place the public debt “on a sustainable footing.
The Central Bank of Barbados (CBB) had last month said that the local economy had contracted by an estimated 0.7 per cent during the first quarter of this year and warned that the outlook “remains challenging”.
Mottley said that public debt as a proportion of our national income is being regarded as high as 171 per cent of GDP (gross domestic product) ,the third highest in the entire world only Japan and Greece are above Barbados.
She said every year Barbados spends BDS$800 million in interest on the debt and this year, the island will spend a further one billion dollars on meeting promises to pay back what was borrowed.