The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says Barbados continues to make “good progress” in implementing the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation Program (BERT), while adding that reserves of country changes received another boost.
IMF Barbados Mission Chief Bert van Selm, who called the BERT plan “ambitious and comprehensive”, says the progress is being made despite “the very difficult environment” in which the country finds itself. He also noted that the country has been able to increase essential investments in terms of social protection.
His comments came in an end-of-mission press release that was released yesterday. According to the statement, van Selm, at the request of the government of Barbados, led a team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to conduct a staff visit via video conference held from August 24-27, 2021. The purpose of the visit was to discuss the implementation of the BERT program, which is supported by the IMF under the Extended Financing Facility (EFF).
“The indicative targets for the end of June within the framework of the EFF have been achieved. The global SDR [Special Drawing Rights] the allocation that came into effect on August 23, 2021 (including an allocation of around US $ 129 million to Barbados) further increased international reserves, to over US $ 1.4 billion ”, a- he declared.
Van Selm added: “Structural reforms are underway and the structural benchmarks of the EFF have been met. The government has made plans to recapitalize the Central Bank of Barbados and address medium to long-term challenges for the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) resulting from debt restructuring and the COVID pandemic, and recapitalization of the NIS has started ”.
The IMF official went on to say that the government of Barbados has also tabled a medium-term fiscal framework in parliament, which aims to improve transparency and accountability in fiscal policy. In addition, he said this had been done, while retaining “sufficient flexibility” to take the necessary measures in terms of the ongoing pandemic and other economic shocks.
van Selm, while thanking the authorities and the technical team for their “openness and frank discussions” during the consultations, said the IMF team looked forward to continuing discussions during the Sixth Review under the FEP, to be held in November. .