Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley in discussion with (from left to right) IMF Mission Chief, Bert van Selm; Senior Economic Advisor to the government, Dr. Kevin Greenidge; and Director of Finance and Economic Affairs, Ian Carrington, following a press conference at Ilaro Court, yesterday. (Photo credit: C. Pitt/BGIS)
Author: Julie Carrington/BGIS
Government will decide in the coming months if it will enter into another International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme.
Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley made the disclosure yesterday at the end of an IMF mission to Barbados led by its Mission Chief Bert van Selm for its seventh and final review of the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation Programme (BERT) Extended Fund Facility (EFF).
She told reporters at Ilaro Court that the current programme would end on September 30 and discussions would begin once the mission report “passes the board” at the end of June.
“From July, we will start discussing. Will we have a successor programme? If so, what type of successor programme? Will we go it on our own or is it time or is it right to go on your own when interest rates are rising globally? Or do you stay in the comfort of concessional interest rates by having a programme or working closely with the other regional development banks and international financial institutions especially given our vulnerability to climate and especially given the fact that COVID even though reduced in severity, though not in numbers, is still very much with us,” Ms. Mottley underlined.
She continued: “The world looks too much like it did 100 years ago and therefore, if you look at the geopolitical instability that is there, we have to see how best do we build on what we have from the last four years while at the same time, starting to build confidence globally that Barbados is looking different, functioning different and feeling different.”
Ms. Mottley mentioned the possibility of a roadshow in September to start to tell our story to the capital markets pointing out “whether we go back into an IMF Programme or not, we believe that our story, which is a credible story, has to be told, in order to be able to…get our way back to investment grade which we hoped would have been much further along had we not had the intervention of the pandemic and the climate crisis”.
Noting that the last three and a half years of her administration had been challenging, the Prime Minister credited the IMF for much of what had been achieved so far in particular, government’s paying off 98 per cent of the $1.7 billion in outstanding debt inherited in 2018.
Ms. Mottley said Barbados was not yet out of the woods but described the relationship with the financial agency as rewarding even if they had not always agreed on everything.
Meanwhile, Mr. van Selm said Barbados had reached a staff level agreement with the EFF, following its latest review and once approved by the IMF Board in June, the country would have access to US $23 million in funding.
Also present at the meeting were Governor of the Central Bank Cleviston Haynes; Minister in in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, Ryan Straughn; Director of Finance and Economic Affairs, Ian Carrington; and Senior Economic Advisors, Dr. Kevin Greenidge; and Ambassador Dr. Clyde Mascoll.