The Cable

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(Barbados Today) The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said today it was ready and willing to come to Barbados’ rescue, while warning that slower growth and a doubling of the domestic cost of living were on the immediate horizon as a result of the austerity measures announced by Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler in his May 30 Budget.

Without passing judgment on the Budget itself or getting into the recent national discussion over whether the island should enter into a formal IMF arrangement or not, the lending institution made it clear the island’s economic problems were not over by any measure.

In this context, it said it “stands ready to assist the Government of Barbados, including through continued policy dialogue and technical assistance”.

The offer comes on the heels of a suggestion made by former Prime Minister Owen Arthur, backed by several other respected economists, that Sinckler’s half-billion dollar adjustment programme effectively amounted to a devaluation of the Barbados currency, and that an IMF adjustment would have been far easier for the entire country to swallow.

In fact, Arthur had explained that based on the IMF’s Article 1V Consultation last year, Government could have been afforded the equivalent of $310 million annually over a three-year period.

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