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Debt warning

Geralyn Edward, Business Editor

Debt warning

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned Caribbean countries, including Barbados, they face an uphill battle fighting the debt crisis that has them in a stranglehold.
An IMF paper released yesterday, titled Caribbean Small States: Challenges of High Debt And Low Growth, said the average debt as a percentage of GDP for the region now hovered around 79 per cent with some individual nations’ ratios over 100 per cent and the global financial crisis had worsened the debt crisis.
And in a sobering analysis, the document prepared by the Western Hemisphere Department of the IMF, said attempts at tackling the exploding debt situation had generally failed and it was non-commodity exporting countries like Barbados, The Bahamas and the Eastern Caribbean sub region that faced debt levels which now jeopardized their prospects for growth.
“Several countries have made attempts at reducing debt, mainly through ad hoc restructuring or fiscal consolidation. As most countries have not adopted comprehensive economic reforms to complement these adjustment efforts, the initial gains have been too small or have not been sustained. Further, because of their middle income status, the majority of the region [have] not been able to benefit from international debt relief,” it was revealed.