IMF team looking at Tobago’s economic performance

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) visited Tobago on Monday (March 7) to review the island’s economic performance, as well as its outlook during this challenging economic period. Secretary of Finance and Enterprise Development Joel Jack said the meeting entailed “wide-ranging discussions” with the Tobago House of Assembly. The IMF also gathered information for its 2016 Article IV Consultation Report for Trinidad and Tobago.

The agenda for the meeting included the performance of Tobago’s economy, the island’s current and future developmental thrusts, alternative financing mechanisms, the production of Tobago-specific social and economic statistics, and technical assistance to the THA from the IMF through the Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centre.

“(We discussed) implications of the economic adjustment measures announced by the Honourable Prime Minister in December last year, what these implications mean for the Tobago economy, and the measures that are bring instituted by the Assembly to mitigate against any deleterious consequences,” Jack said.

Led by Dr. Elie Canetti, the IMF team included three economists, while the THA team, headed by Jack, included THA Chief Administrator Raye Sandy and the Finance Division’s Chief Economist, Dr. Selvon Hazel.

“We also looked at the budgetary requests and allocations of the Tobago House of Assembly for fiscal 2016,” Jack said, adding that the teams “examined the financial constraints faced by the Assembly and the strategies and initiatives of the Assembly to recalibrate Tobago’s fiscal priorities in view of the financial constraints.” Jack said the Assembly continues to treat with the funding gaps.

The Secretary also spoke about recent initiatives by the Central Government to establish the independent National Statistical Institute (NSI)—which replaces the Central Statistical Office (CSO)—and the role of this new entity in solving some of Tobago’s social and economic data needs.

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