Wed | Aug 23, 2017

Barbados resists idea of IMF help to turn around economy

Published:Wednesday | January 18, 2017 | 1:26 PM
Chris Sinckler, Barbados' Finance Minister

The Barbados government says it has not made any approach to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for assistance in turning around the island’s economy.

Finance Minister Chris Sinckler, speaking on the Bank’s Tax on Assets 2017 Bill debate on Tuesday night, said the Freundel Stuart government and more specifically the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Barbados had not approached the Washington-based financial institution for assistance.

“Certainly not under my instruction. I have not given anybody any instruction to engage negotiations with the International Monetary Fund either formally or informally for any … programme. Let me make that abundantly clear,” Sinckler told legislators.

He said that the only time the government had engaged the IMF was to access its technical expertise.

“We have been very open. The IMF has come here on several occasions because we have asked them for technical assistance on a number of matters,” the Finance Minister said.

He insisted that “the Fiscal Affairs Department on Fiscal Policy decide that we are going to engage them. We ask them to come. Sometimes they come quarterly, they come for the Article IV, which they have to come for, but outside of that … we have drawn on their fiscal expertise.”

In its August 2016 review of the Barbados economy, the IMF noted that the economy appeared to have turned the corner with activity picking up.

“Real GDP (gross domestic product) grew by 0.8 per cent in 2015, underpinned by an increase in private investment and surge in tourism arrivals, which increased by 14 per cent, among the highest in the Caribbean,” the IMF noted then.

- CMC