President Chandrikapersad Santokhi claims that indicators show that the Surinamese economy is beginning to improve. On December 13, 2022, the head of state gave a lengthy press conference during which he covered Suriname’s financial situation. He talked about the government’s approach to dealing with foreign financial institutions and its financial management. Stanley Raghoebarsing, the minister of finance and planning, who had just been sworn in, was also present at the press conference.
The country’s financial household has been restored to balance over the last two years, according to President Santokhi. The president of state declared, “Whereas we literally had nearly nothing left on the international reserve, today we can say that we have more over USD 1 billion.” He said, where there used to be “far over zero,” there is now import coverage of more than seven weeks. It’s crucial that these parameters also show that the economy is gradually beginning to improve. President Santokhi claims that spending still exceeds revenue. Massive sums of money are spent by the government on fuel, cooking gas, and electricity subsidies. The private sector will need to generate more money and invest more in exports in addition to the government’s efforts. Therefore, the government is attempting to provide cash to support this sector.
The $4 billion in debt is being restructured by the government. In order to do this, an agreement must be achieved with the Paris Club, where the Netherlands and France have already reached an understanding and negotiations with Italy and Israel have already been concluded. This implies that idle resources and finances can now be applied to the development of Suriname. Of the domestic debt, the government has already paid back more than SRD 600 million. According to President Santokhi, Suriname’s debt position has decreased from more than 165% of its GDP when the government was taken over to 116%. The benchmark around the world is 65%.
The head of state observes that responsible measures are used to pay off debts. With the available budget, debt repayment cannot be done directly, though. Repayments to international institutions must also be paid in addition to rescheduling payments with commercial and bilateral creditors. Renegotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have also been agreed upon in this regard, but talks with the holders of the Oppenheimer bonds are still underway. Additionally, discussions are taking on with India, a nation with whom a deal is practically complete. At a high political level, talks with China over debt restructuring will take place.
The budget deficit was between 18% and 19% when the government first took office, according to President Santokhi, who went on to say that it is now very near to the 3.3% international standard. “This suggests that the economy is improving,” There are presently 355 million USD in the cash reserve. Suriname still owes the IMF USD 578 million, of which roughly $150 million will be used to sustain the budget. There are still two years left in the IMF program. The head of state remarks that the sums mentioned are more than sufficient to advance the nation.