IMF Staff Concludes Virtual Visit to Barbados
August 28, 2020
End-of-Mission press releases include statements of IMF staff teams that convey preliminary findings after a visit to a country or a virtual staff visit. The views expressed in this statement are those of the IMF staff and do not necessarily represent the views of the IMF’s Executive Board. This virtual staff visit will not result in a Board discussion.
- The global coronavirus pandemic has severely affected economies around the world and is causing a deep recession in Barbados. Tourism is expected to recover gradually through 2021.
- Implementation of Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) program remains strong, despite the COVID-19 shock.
- Program targets under the Fund supported program for end-June 2020 were met, and international reserves reached more than US$1 billion at the end of August.
Washington, DC – At the request of the Government of Barbados, an International Monetary
Fund (IMF) team led by Bert van Selm conducted a staff visit via
videoconferencing between August 25-28, 2020 to discuss implementation of
Barbados’ Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) plan, supported by
the IMF under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF). To summarize the mission’s
findings, Mr. van Selm made the following statement:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on Barbados’ economy, with a
double-digit decline in economic activity projected for 2020. Tourism came
to a virtual standstill between March and June 2020: airlift declined
precipitously, most hotels closed, and occupancy plummeted at facilities
that remained open. In early July, the island cautiously started reopening
the economy for international tourists, after the authorities effectively
halted local transmission of the disease.
“In this very challenging environment, Barbados continues to make good
progress in implementing its ambitious and comprehensive economic reform
program, while expanding critical investments in social protection.
International reserves, which reached a low of US$220 million (5-6 weeks of
import coverage) at end-May 2018, are now in excess of US$1 billion. All
indicative targets for end-June under the EFF were met. The targets for
international reserves, net domestic assets and the primary balance were
met with some margin, which bodes well for meeting the end-September EFF
“Good progress also continues to be made towards implementing structural
reform under the EFF. The two structural benchmarks for end-June 2020,
related to tax and customs administration, were both met. A revised central
bank law is expected to be ready to be sent to Parliament in September.
“The team is looking forward to conducting discussions for the fourth
review under the EFF in late October and would like to thank the
authorities and the technical team for their openness and candid
IMF Communications Department
PRESS OFFICER: Maria Candia Romano
Phone: +1 202 623-7100Email: MEDIA@IMF.org