Economy on right track, says Straughn
The approval of US$139 million in support by the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for Barbados, is a clear indication that the economy is on track.
This view was expressed today by Minister in the Ministry of Finance, Ryan Straughn, as he weighed in on Wednesday’s announcement of the country securing the additional funds, after the Executive Board concluded its third review of the IMF’s extended arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility for Barbados.
He said the approval highlights the consistent work and the foundation laid by Government in implementing the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) programme over the last two years.
In an interview with the Barbados Government Information Service, Straughn said: “The reality is that this is good news for the country, given all that we are going through…. It is a clear signal to the international community that Barbados’ programme and implementation are strong…and Barbados is still on track.
“Notwithstanding the adjustments we have made to the BERT programme as a result of COVID-19, the underlying economic fundamentals for Barbados remain sound, and therefore would give confidence to international and local investors to be able to continue, provided the necessary financing is available, and aside from any global financing issues.”
Straughn noted that the foreign reserves are now just under $2 billion, which puts Government in a key position to deal with the impact of the virus. He pointed out that the debt trajectory target still remains 60 per cent by 2033 despite the adjustments made to the primary surplus for one per cent this financial year. Therefore, he explained, Government would have to readjust the BERT programme to ensure it could be brought back on track as quickly as possible, once the impact of the pandemic has abated.
He continued: “There is quite a bit of work to be done and the Ministry of Finance will continue to monitor and implement the reforms that are required to lift the Barbados economy from what has clearly has been a very tough two years.”
Straughn said that the trajectory for Barbados still looked bright and gave the assurance that Government would continue to work for the benefit of all Barbadians, so light could be seen at the end of the tunnel, even while coping with the impact of COVID-19. (BGIS)