Barbadians told to prepare for more Austerity

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(CMC) – Barbadians have been warned to brace for more austerity.

This warning from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) follows a ten-day visit to the island during which officials met with various stakeholders.

In a release, the Washington-based financial institution said the next phase of adjustment would focus on reducing expenditures “by improving the efficiency and effectiveness of public services, reducing Government transfers to state-owned enterprises, by reviewing user fees, exploring options for mergers, and providing stronger oversight”.

According to the IMF, the $1.2 billion package of austere measures announced by Prime Minister Mia Mottley in her budget last month were not enough.

The IMF team, led by Bert van Selm, however, praised the adjustment programme, describing it as a good first step.

The team also said progress was being made on Government’s debt restructuring efforts with domestic and external creditors.

In addition, the team also advised that “continuing opened dialogue and sharing information, will remain important in concluding an orderly debt restructuring process”.

At the conclusion of the July 2- 12 visit, which came at the request of the Mottley administration, the IMF team reaffirmed its commitment to partnering with Government on the road to economic recovery.

“The Barbadian authorities, in close consultation with their social partners, are taking effective steps to address current economic vulnerabilities. The IMF stands ready to partner with Barbados to restore macroeconomic stability in order to secure strong, durable and inclusive growth in the years ahead.

“Significant progress has been made during this IMF staff visit on the plan that could underpin financial support from the IMF. On its return to Washington, the team will continue to analyse the Government’s comprehensive reform programme. We will remain closely engaged with the authorities in the coming weeks,” the release stated.

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