Mon | Sep 23, 2019

Trinidad Finance Minister against IMF recommendation to devalue currency

Published:Friday | August 23, 2019 | 10:50 AM
Trinidad Finance Minister Colm Imbert - Contributed photo.

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – The Trinidad and Tobago government says it has not followed a recommendation by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to devalue its currency.

The Trinidad and Tobago dollar is equivalent to US$0.16 cents.

Finance Minister, Colm Imbert, speaking at the weekly Cabinet news conference, said the Washington-based financial institution had made the recommendations in the past following various missions to the country.

He told reporters that unlike Jamaica, Barbados, Grenada, the twin-island republic is not in any IMF programme, noting that the last time Port of Spain had such an arrangement was in the 1980s.

"We are not in an IMF programme and since we are not in an IMF programme we have no obligation to do anything that the IMF might recommend, but as a member of the IMF…since its inception, we agree as a member that there would be an Article IV consultation on a regular basis.

“When they come, they look at our economy and advise us on what they think we should do. But because we are not in an IMF programme we are not compelled to do whatever they recommend. You will know that the IMF has been recommending for couple years now that we devalue the currency, we have not,” Imbert said.

He said that the Keith Rowley administration has taken the “deliberate policy position that we don’t need to do that.

“And because we are not borrowing money from the IMF, we are not in a stand-by programme, we are not in any transitional programme with the IMF, we are not a basket case, so therefore we chart our own path. The Prime Minister has made that clear that we would take our own decision, take our own fiscal and economic measures to avoid falling into an IMF trap where we would have to borrow from the IMF.

“The IMF is the lender of last resort. Trinidad and Tobago is certainly nowhere close to that and therefore when the IMF comes in for a consultation that word is very important, it is simply them coming, looking at what we are doing and making recommendations on what we should do, but we don’t have to follow them” the Finance Minister said.

Imbert said the IMF is assembling a team to visit Trinidad and Tobago but no date has been set as yet regarding the Article IV consultation.

The last IMF consultation was released in September last year.

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