Government and IMF start talks

Discussions between the government of Barbados and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) ahead of a new agreement have started.

Prime Minister Mia Mottley and IMF mission chief Bert van Selm met on Tuesday at Ilaro Court and discussed a range of issues ahead of the start of negotiations for the extended fund facility (EFF) and the resilience and sustainability facility (RSF).

Mottley provided a progress report on government’s policy initiatives, including its new homegrown Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) programme, the importance of retraining the island’s workforce, renewable energy initiatives, and the proposed public pension reform.

The prime minister shared that the current draft BERT document will comprise strategies that focussed on institutional strengthening in keeping with the needs of the public to maintain social stability.

She further stated that government was “well on the way” with pension reforms, adding that recommendations will be submitted by the board of the National Insurance Scheme shortly.

The IMF team sought to clarify key policy priorities that should underpin a new joint EFF-RSF programme for Barbados and to iron out any concerns raised by the Fund.

Van Selm described Barbados’ economy as a “very motivating macro framework that makes for more interesting discussion” and stressed his team was anxious to get down to work.

Also representing the government of Barbados at the meeting were Minister in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, Ryan Straughn; Director of Finance and Economic Affairs, Ian Carrington; Permanent Secretary in Finance, Nancy Headley; Deputy Governor of the Central Bank, Alwyn Jordan; and Senior Economic Advisor Dr Kevin Greenidge, among others.

The IMF Mission will conclude on Thursday, September 29.


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