BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Tuesday July 3 – Barbados has put together a strong negotiating team and is ready to engage in discussions with the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) representatives starting this week and continuing until July 12.
This disclosure has come from Minister in the Ministry of Finance, Ryan Straughn, who said the IMF officials had already started requesting data which Barbados was in the process of finalising.
“Those early meetings will engage on where our position is fiscally and then obviously those negotiations will start to drill down to the specific sectors of Government, and the Fund’s team will also meet with members of the private sector,” he said.
“We have already announced that we are going to be restructuring the debt and so this will form part of the negotiations with the Fund…So some of the meetings will focus on debt, not just between the IMF and the Government, but also with the domestic and foreign creditors as well.”
The Minister explained that Government was working out the details on what was required to grow the economy over the next ten years and the particular path to achieve sustainable growth, whilst at the same time improving the delivery of public services to the level that Barbadians expect and deserve.
“Therefore, the early meetings will set the framework for where we want the overall economic recovery and transformation plan to be…. We anticipate that between now and July 12, we can have in place at least a working agreement, because it is certainly our intention to make sure that the IMF team has all of the data and information needed to be able to come to a conclusion as to how and what they can support…
“We are intending that once the team leaves here on July 12, and they go through their internal review process in Washington, that Barbados can get an IMF Board agreement as early as possible,” Straughn pointed out.
Explaining the rationale for such an early agreement, he said Government needed to make sure that it had things in place to restore confidence in the market. He stressed that Government has already begun to fix some of the problems, and must continue to do what was necessary to grow the economy and address fiscal reforms.
Prime Minister Mia Mottley said on June 1 that Barbados’ public debt was as high as 171 per cent of GDP and corrective economic and fiscal measures were needed to place it on a sustainable footing. She announced then that she had a telephone conversation with the Managing Director of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, and a mission had been invited to visit Barbados.
The team came here from June 4 to 7 to meet with Mottley and officials. Subsequently, the Prime Minister and her team went to Washington to have talks with Lagarde between June 14 and 15.