The International Monetary Fund has praised Government for executing its homegrown Barbados’ Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) plan, funded by an IMF Extended Fund Facility.
In statement today, the IMF mission here revealed that the Government met all indicative targets up to the end of last year. “Barbados continues to make good progress in implementing its ambitious and comprehensive economic reform programme,” said team leader Bert van Selm.
The report card highlighted that targets for foreign exchange reserves, domestic assets and the primary surplus of income needed to pay back its debt, were all met by a wide margin.
Government is well on the way to meet its six per cent of GDP primary surplus target, said the IMF, as it gave the thumbs up to on-going job cuts in the public sector and looked forward to grading the budget for the 2019-2020 financial year which begins on April 1st.
The IMF statement said: “Preparation of the budget for financial year 2019/20 targeting a primary surplus of six per cent of GDP is well underway. Full year effects of reforms set in motion during the current (2018/19) fiscal year, including the introduction of several new taxes and on-going streamlining of public sector work force at state-owned enterprises, should help achieve this target. A detailed assessment of the budget will be made when it is finalized.”
The IMF team, which visited Barbados from February 5–8, suggested that Government is well on the way to striking a deal with international creditors, following
Government’s decision to default on those payments last June.
“Progress being made by the authorities in furthering good-faith discussions with external creditors is welcome. Continuing open dialogue and sharing of information will remain important in concluding an orderly debt restructuring process,” the IMF team stated.
Government also received kudos for introducing two key pieces of legislation, the Public Financial Management Act, and the Town and Country Planning Act, which were adopted in early 2019.
The team revealed that it will return in three months to follow-up its assessment of the country’s performance under the programme.
The IMF said: “The team is looking forward to return to Barbados in May to conduct the discussions for the first review under the EFF and would like to thank the authorities and the technical team for their openness and candid discussions.”