IMF official optimistic about Barbados

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC ) — Bert Van Selm, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) deputy division chief for the Caribbean, says Barbados is on track to receiving a passing grade for the second review of its Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) programme.

Van Selm said he is pleased with measures recently put in place to help government meet its ambitious target of six per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) at the end of the current fiscal year.

“So far it looks good…for some targets it is too early to tell because we do not have complete data yet, but what we can see so far is that the performance as at March has been quite strong,” Van Selm told online publication, Barbados TODAY, singling out structural and legislative changes, and the reform of Government processes as “moving in the right direction”.

Barbados has entered into a US$290-million Extended Fund Facility programme with the IMF and, following the first review completed in December last year, the island received some US$49 million to shore up the once- dangerously low international reserves.

The next review is scheduled for May.

Van Selm said while it is imperative for the Mia Mottley administration to maintain strong economic policies in order to reduce national debt and spending, he is also suggesting there would be no escaping the onerous measures for the life of the programme.

He said meeting the targets was also critical if the confidence of international partners and local and international investors was to be regained.

“Now the new government coming in has been very active in trying to address this situation from the middle of last year, but this is not something you can turn around in like a day or two, or a year or two. So adhering to this programme for four years is going to be very important,” he added.

Van Selm told Barbados TODAY the IMF remained confident the Mottley government would meet its targets.

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