IMF Team in Barbados As New Government Seeks Help

Prime Minister Mia Mottley (far right) in discussion with the IMF’s Bert van Selm (far left) during a meeting at Government Headquarters today. To Prime Minister Mottley’s right are Minister in the Ministry of Finance, Ryan Straughan and Minister in the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Marsha Caddle. (Photo credit: C.Pitt/BGIS)

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Wednesday June 6, 2018
– A team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), led by Bert van Selm, arrived in Barbados yesterday on a three-day visit, just days after the new government announcing it would turn to the Washington-based financial institution for balance of payments support.

The team will hold discussions with the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Mia Mottley Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados Cleviston Haynes, other senior government officials, and representatives from the private sector and the labour movement.

It is expected that during this visit the IMF mission will be updated on the current economic and financial situation in Barbados, ahead of discussions with the authorities, over a potential programme in the coming weeks.

Last Friday, Prime Minister Mottley announced the decision to the turn to the IMF, as well as a plan to restructure the country’s staggering debt, put at 171 per cent of GDP. She said she was suspending payments due on debts owed to external commercial creditors.

Government yesterday announced that it has appointed White Oak Advisory Ltd. to act as its financial advisor in the context of that debt restructuring process.

“The financial advisor is in the process of establishing initial contacts with affected creditors, and is expected to soon commence creditor engagement on the basis of the medium-term macroeconomic projections to be finalised by the Government in the coming weeks,” the government said in a statement.

The debt restructuring announcement had triggered a downgrade by regional credit rating agency, Caribbean Information and Credit Rating Services Limited (CariCRIS).

Government said in its statement yesterday that it has held discussions with the rating agencies since last week’s announcement, and it is expecting that Barbados’ credit rating will shortly be adjusted down to Selective Default (SD), as is customary when comprehensive debt restructurings are announced.

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