(CMC) — Prime Minister Mia Mottley yesterday met with a delegation from the International Monetary Fund as her new Administration seeks balance of support funding from the Washington-based financial institution.
“Today I met with a team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) headed by Bert van Selm,” Mottley posted on her Facebook page, promising to provide “more information” later.
Earlier, Governor General Dame Sandra Mason, delivering the traditional Throne speech at the start of the new Parliament since the May 24 general election, said as the new Administration seeks to enter into an arrangement with the IMF “we will keep faith with our citizens and we ask them to keep faith with us.
“The task ahead is not for the 30 elected or the 21 appointed but for the 300,000 who live in Barbados and those of our citizens living in the diaspora.”
Last weekend, Mottley announced that the new Government would suspend payments due to domestic and external creditors and that domestic creditors would also be asked to roll over principal maturity until a restructuring agreement is reached.
The state of the Barbados economy had been a major issue in the campaign for the May 24 general election in which Mottley led her Barbados Labour Party to a clean sweep of all 30 seats in the Parliament, defeating the incumbent Democratic Labour Party that had been in power for the past 10 years.
The Central Bank of Barbados had last month said that the local economy had contracted by an estimated 0.7 per cent during the first quarter of this year and warned that the outlook “remains challenging”.
Mottley told Barbadians “there is no avoidance in delay when treating with the economic and financial position in which we find ourselves.
“Public debt as a proportion of our national income is being regarded as high as 171 per cent of GDP,the third highest in the entire world,” she said, noting that only Japan and Greece are above Barbados.
She said every year Barbados spends BDS$800 million in interest on the debt and this year, the island will spend a further one billion dollars on meeting promises to pay back what was borrowed.
“Our interest bill alone is equal to the central government’s entire wages and salaries bill. In fact, our interest bill is about BDS$15 million or so higher.”