BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, February 7, 2020 (CMC) – The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said, today, that Barbados continues to make good progress, in implementing its economic reform program, and that its international reserves reached US$740 million, at the end of 2019.
It said that the primary surplus for the first three quarters of the financial year 2019/20, amounted to almost five percent of annual gross domestic product (GDP), and that the island is on track to reach the six percent primary surplus target for the financial year.
An IMF delegation, headed by Bert van Selm, ended a four-day visit, today, to discuss implementation of Barbados’ Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) plan, which is supported by the Washington-based financial institution, under the US$280 million Extended Fund Facility (EFF), granted in 2018.
The IMF official said that Bridgetown continues to make good progress in implementing the economic reform program, and that the completion of the external debt restructuring in December 2019, “has reduced economic uncertainty, and the agreed terms with creditors will help to keep public debt on a clear downward trajectory”.
On December 11, 2019, the US-based rating agency, Standard and Poor’s, upgraded Barbados’ foreign currency sovereign credit rating, from Selective Default to B-, and van Selm said all indicative targets for end-December, under the EFF, have been met.
He said the program target for Net International Reserves (NIS) was met by “a wide margin”, as was the target for the Central Bank of Barbados’ Net Domestic Assets.
“Good progress also continues to be made, towards implementing the structural benchmarks under the EFF. A revised Central Bank of Barbados (CBB) law is expected to be ready to be sent to Parliament, shortly. Preparation of the budget for financial year 2020/21, targeting a primary surplus of 6 percent of GDP, is well underway.”
The IMF official said that the delegation returns to Barbados in May, to conduct the discussions for the third review, under the EFF.