Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley and Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Tao Zhang, after today’s meeting. (B.Hinds/BGIS)

Barbados’ economy is on track.

This assessment came today from Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley and Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Tao Zhang, after they met to discuss the country’s economic position with the implementation of the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) Programme.

After the meeting, Ms. Mottley told the Barbados Government Information Service: “I think we are both satisfied that we are on track.  The country hears me saying all the time that they need to stay the course and we have to stay the course, but we are happy with where we are going.

“We understand where we have capacity limitations and we are trying to fix them, in conjunction with the [International Monetary] Fund, who really has been a good partner for Barbados, by allowing us to execute this homegrown [BERT] programme in circumstances that are peculiar to our attributes as a small nation state and we are grateful for that.”

She stressed that it has not been a one-size fits all prescription for the country, and the understanding of the IMF officials has made a difference.

Two days ago, Barbados launched its external debt exchange, which is expected to close by the end of this month.

The Prime Minister said Barbados’ ability to put the debt restructuring exercise completely behind it would allow Government to move fully into the next stage of the BERT programme.

“This would be to complete the structural changes that we have in our regulatory structure to make it easier, not just to do business, but for Barbadians to enjoy services that are delivered to them on a daily basis.

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley sharing a light moment with Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Tao Zhang, while Director of the Western Hemisphere Department, Alejandro Werner, is partly hidden. (B.Hinds/BGIS)

“Secondly, for us to focus completely on the projects that are necessary to do the transformation, be it the transformation of our people through the continuous training in the National Training Initiative over the next four years, or the physical infrastructural projects that are absolutely critical to both accessing services or the delivery of jobs in the tourism sector and other areas of the new economy, be it the medical cannabis or renewable energy,” Ms. Mottley explained.

Mr. Zhang congratulated the Prime Minister and the people of Barbados on the achievements made to stabilize the economy, and move forward with the reforms.

“We are glad to be a part of the process, to be your partners and we remain committed to supporting and moving ahead together with you.  As you said, there is a lot of work that needs to be done in the future, and we will remain as committed, as ready and as prepared to move ahead,” he stated.

Those officials attending this morning’s meeting at Government Headquarters included the Minister in the Ministry of Finance, Ryan Straughn; Minister in the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Investment, Marsha Caddle; the Director of Finance, Ian Carrington; Director of the Western Hemisphere Department, Alejandro Werner; and Mission Chief, Barbados, Bert van Selm. 

Mr. Zhang was in Barbados for the one-day 2019 Caribbean Forum – Regional Transformation for Inclusive and Sustainable Growth, which was held yesterday at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre. 

It was hosted by the Government of Barbados, the Caribbean Development Bank and the IMF.

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