BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Monday May 20, 2019 – Barbados is in line for an additional US$49 million under its Extended Fund Facility (EFF) with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after passing the first review.
Following a 10-day mission to the country to review the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) programme which is supported by the EFF, the IMF’s Deputy Division Chief for the Caribbean, Bert van Selm, said the government “continues to make strong progress in implementing its ambitious and comprehensive economic reform programme”.
“The Barbadian authorities continue to make good progress in implementing structural benchmarks under the EFF, including those that contribute to an improved business climate,” he said.
“All programme targets for end of March, under the Extended Fund Facility have been met, some with wide margins,” he added, pointing to the more than doubling of the international reserves which had reached a low of US$220 million or five week of cover at the end of May last year; the completion of the domestic debt restructuring exercise; the targets for the primary surplus; central government grants to state-owned enterprises, and social spending.
The IMF official said the rapid completion of the domestic part of the debt restructuring had been very helpful in reducing economic uncertainty, and the new terms agreed with creditors had put debt on a clear downward trajectory.
He added that progress being made by the authorities in furthering good-faith discussions with external creditors was also welcomed.
Once the IMF Executive Board considers the review, which is expected to happen next month, the US$49 million will be made available to Barbados, bringing the total disbursement so far under the EFF to US$98 million.
Reacting to van Selm’s report, Prime Minister Mottley said Barbados economy was headed in the right direction and was passing the right road signs on the journey to success and transformation.
“We have a few more road signs to pass, but as long as the people of Barbados stay the course, I assure you that we shall be successful in being able to overcome what really was a very turbulent and difficult legacy,” she said, stressing that while she was grateful for the IMF’s encouraging report, the country had to stay the course.
“I will be jubilant when Barbados has reached the first signs of transformation.”