Loans ‘cushioned Covid-19 blow’

Faced with a $2 billion economic contraction and related $600 million fall in revenue, Government would have found it “completely impossible” to finance Barbados’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic without borrowing more money from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and others.

Now having taken on the increased financial burden, the IMF and other key players in the international community need to give Barbados and other countries the room to more easily manage the debt related to COVID-19.

Minister in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs Ryan Straughn made this clear yesterday as he defended Government against criticisms that the country’s debt had ballooned under the current administration’s stewardship.

Straughn also said during debate on the Debt Conversion (Counter-Guarantee) Bill 2022 in the House of Assembly, that the Mia Amor Mottley Government’s loans from the IMF were initially expected to be $450 million, but increased to the current $870 million because of unexpected financing needs related to the pandemic and other shocks like Hurricane Elsa. (SC)

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