T&T PM Rowley won’t deal with IMF

Keith Rowley

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley Monday reiterated that Trinidad and Tobago will not be entering into any lending program with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) even as Barbados announced over the weekend that it is approaching the Washington-based financial institution for a new loan agreement.

Rowley noted that while some regional countries, most notably, Barbados and Jamaica had sought assistance from the IMF, in the case of Trinidad and Tobago, the government had taken the position that “we, even if we have similar difficulties, we will not use the IMF as a way out.

“We will make our own decisions and apply our own medicine so as to have the flexibility of doing it the way we would like to do it and not have the pain of IMF impositions on us. That’s what happening in Trinidad and Tobago,” he told a news conference.

Last Friday, Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley announced the move toward the IMF later this month, telling Barbadians “these are indeed rough waters.”

In 2018, the Washington-based financial institution approved US$290 million Extended Arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) for Barbados, noting then that the program is aimed at helping the island restore debt sustainability, strengthen the external position, and improve growth prospects.

Mottley said her government had decided to return to the IMF later this month “with the intent of starting a BERT (Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation) 2022 program.

“This decision has not been taken lightly, but this is being done to ensure Barbados can continue its trajectory of positive growth,” she said.

“In addition to providing further means to stabilize our country, this program will unlock critically important funding, giving Barbados a boot on the great progress we have already made, despite the hardships brought on by the global challenges,” Mottley said.

Dr. Keith Rowley told reporters that Barbados had done “quite well “under the existing IMF program the island has with the IMF, adding “there is no disaster in going to the IMF, if you end up requiring IMF assistance.

“That’s what the IMF is for, but when you go to the IMF to get the assistance, the IMF usually lays down some very stringent conditions. So if you want to avoid those conditions being applied to you, you tend to avoid the IMF,” he added.

Rowley said there were many naysayers who had been attempting to encourage his administration to seek an IMF loan. But he told reporters that despite the prediction of gloom and doom that has not happened.