Kamla to Imbert: Where is IMF team?

Op­po­si­tion Leader Kam­la Per­sad-Bisses­sar is call­ing on the Fi­nance Min­is­ter to say whether the In­ter­na­tion­al Mon­e­tary Fund (IMF) has been in­vit­ed to T&T for its an­nu­al Ar­ti­cle IV re­view.

Ad­dress­ing sup­port­ers at the UNC's Mon­day Night Fo­rum at the Ch­agua­nas South Sec­ondary School in Ch­agua­nas, Per­sad-Bisses­sar ques­tioned whether Fi­nance Min­is­ter Colm Im­bert was afraid of what an IMF re­view will re­veal.


Re­fer­ring to the re­cent down­grade of this coun­try's cred­it rat­ing by in­ter­na­tion­al cred­it rat­ing agency Stan­dard and Poor's, Per­sad-Bisses­sar said, "S&P down­grad­ed T&T from BBB+ to BBB and be­fore that Moody's down­grad­ed us."

"I want to ask a ques­tion: Where is the IMF Ar­ti­cle IV en­quiry? We are in the month of Ju­ly and by now, the IMF would be here con­duct­ing their Ar­ti­cle IV re­view and then they would present their re­ports on the sta­tus of our coun­try."

She said Im­bert must say whether he has ex­tend­ed an in­vi­ta­tion to the IMF as they have been com­ing to T&T for an­nu­al re­views for "don­key years."

Per­sad-Bisses­sar said the re­view was crit­i­cal for T&T to chart its way for­ward as she said so far, there have too many pub­lic re­la­tions "spins" on this coun­try's bad rat­ings.

"The Ar­ti­cle IV re­view is go­ing to help us as we plan for­ward what needs to be done," she added.

In ear­ly April, in its World Eco­nom­ic Out­look the IMF pro­ject­ed ze­ro per cent growth for T&T in 2019.

Ac­cord­ing to the Out­look, T&T's growth for 2018 was on­ly 0.03 per cent.

In re­cent state­ments made via twit­ter, the Fi­nance Min­is­ter said Moody's had pub­lished an in-depth state­ment on Mon­day that this coun­try's cred­it pro­file "will ben­e­fit from im­proved growth prospects from high­er en­er­gy pro­duc­tion, mod­er­ate fis­cal deficits and large fi­nan­cial buffers and the gov­ern­ment has been ef­fec­tive in re­struc­tur­ing Petrotrin."

In an ear­li­er post, he stat­ed: "A per­son in the ICU has to sta­bilise first be­fore he can re­cov­er.

The same ap­plies to our Econ­o­my af­ter the col­lapse of oil prices in 2014. We have to walk be­fore we can run. Our fi­nan­cial "gu­rus" would do well to re­mem­ber that and al­so ad­mit that T&T is still in­vest­ment grade!"

Reporter: Shaliza Hassanali

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