On June 14, the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) for Suriname’s second review was concluded by the Executive Council of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The equivalent of SDR 39.4 (USD 53 million) can now be withdrawn by the authorities, increasing the total payout to SDR 118.2 (USD 159 million). Special Drawing Right is referred to as SDR. In an interview with the Communication Service Suriname (CDS) on June 15, Minister Stanley Raghoebarsing of Finance and Planning stated that, after four missed evaluations, the return of aid to our nation has now been approved. “The program has been delayed significantly. We were making good progress with reasonably constant prices a year ago. However, fuel subsidies and pay adjustments caused problems. The president then engaged in high-level discussion with the financial institution,” the finance minister added.
The minister emphasizes how time and effort were expended during the IMF negotiations. “We were successful in getting the IMF to slow down the program and renegotiate.” There were two potential outcomes, the minister observes. “The IMF could have stopped the program and declared it a failure. The second scenario involved making special efforts to try to save the program. He indicates that all relevant actors have made concerted efforts to get the economic recovery program back on track and stabilize the economy – mainly by restoring fiscal discipline – while expanding social assistance programs to protect the poor. This has also been emphasized by the International Monetary Fund in a press release.
Minister Raghoebarsing says that shortly after the Santokhi government took office – when looking at the figures at the department – it was already known that Suriname would not be able to make the economy healthy on its own. “As a country, you would prefer that you never have to go to the IMF. We were in that position that we had to,” explains the country’s treasurer. According to the minister, it was then indicated to the IMF that Suriname is aware that things have gone wrong in the country. “We have indicated that we have to put things in order with or without the support of the monetary institution. We also let them know that without their support it will be a lot more difficult. Then we were listened to.” The finance minister says that the IMF has also seen that during the stagnation Suriname has continued to implement the various measures to restore the macro-economy to health.
The minister says that he is very happy that the program has been preserved. “We have made sacrifices; despite the loss of USD 220 million due to the missed reviews, we continued with the economic reforms. It is good to see that we have impressed the IMF. The fund praises the efforts of the Surinamese government to restore the economy. The minister notes that the adjusted IMF program, which meets the requirements of the Surinamese reality, has only come about through the commitment of the government, experts and the resilience of the people.