Thursday, April 18, 2024

Meeting with IMF today

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BARBADOS GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS will join their Caribbean counterparts at a special breakfast meeting with the top brass of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) this morning.
This was announced yesterday by IMF managing director Christine Lagarde who, in response to a question at a Press briefing in Washington D.C., said specific attention was being paid to the Caribbean because of its unique vulnerabilities which often threatened the region’s economic lifeblood, tourism.
“As far as the Caribbean is concerned, I have a special breakfast meeting with them all tomorrow [today] and that tells you the level of attention that we have to pay specifically to that group, because they encounter not only monetary issues as a result of spillovers or otherwise but they also generally face issues in relation to mono or dual growth sources, be it tourism or otherwise,” she said during the 28th meeting of the IMF’s monetary and financial committee.
Barbados’ Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler and Governor of the the Central Bank Dr Delisle Worrell will be among those at today’s closed-door breakfast meeting which, Lagarde noted, would also address issues related to most Caribbean territories’ exposure to hurricanes.
She told the media that as a result of most Caribbean territories “being exposed generally to weather incidents that can really damage their tourism, which is one of the main drivers of their economies, we do pay special attention to them, and they fall into different categories depending on their  income status”.
On Thursday, former CARICOM chairman Dr Denzil Douglas, prime minister of St Kitts-Nevis, called on the Fund to consider the Caribbean’s unique vulnerability to hurricanes and external economic shocks as a stand-alone criteria, in order to allow the region to access the large sums of untapped money available from lending agencies like the IMF and World Bank.
He also described the middle- to high-income status of small tourism-dependent states like St Kitts, Barbados and Grenada as “false” and “misleading”.
Yesterday’s financial committee briefing, chaired by Singapore’s deputy prime minister and minister of finance Tharman Shanmugaratnam, informed the IMF’s 188 member countries that while global economic growth had remained subdued in 2013, there were signs of improving activity in advanced economies like Europe and the United States.
Shanmugaratnam and Lagarde said the week-long meetings had been consistently constructive among all countries invited, while Lagarde noted that “our members welcome real dialogue and there was such . . . and we all agreed that everyone had to put their house in order”.
She also admitted that “reform of [IMF] governance”, which features a review of quotas to member countries, was “a key priority”.

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