PARAMARIBO, Suriname, Sept. 26, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Yesterday an article published in the international press made several assertions that the Government of Suriname would like to refute. President Bouterse was quoted in the article with comments that were taken out of context, and were presented in a manner that is squarely inconsistent with the position of the President and his government.
The Government of Suriname would like to reiterate the country's commitment to the economic adjustment and reform program that is being supported by a Stand By Agreement (SBA) with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and supported by multilateral lending agencies that are providing Suriname with financing and technical support for projects that will stimulate growth and employment in the country.
After the collapse in global commodity prices, our country faced a deep balance of payments crisis in 2015 that necessitated immediate action by the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank. The government designed and began to implement its adjustment and reform program in August 2015, which required difficult but necessary adjustment measures. To smoothen the adjustment and secure technical assistance for our reform program, the government approached the international financial institutions in early 2016, signing a Stand-By Arrangement with the IMF in May 2016. As evidence of the government's commitment to its adjustment and reform program, the government has already met or exceeded all but two of its "hard" targets for the period and is well above the all-important 2016 fiscal target agreed upon with the IMF.
President Bouterse and his economic team are well aware of the toll the economic slowdown and adjustment have had on the Suriname population and as such decided to adjust the fuel tax and electricity tariffs more gradually than previously agreed with the IMF. Almost two/third of the electricity tariff adjustments have already been implemented, while the fuel tax will be adjusted gradually until meeting market levels by mid-2017. Most importantly, as the government will be taking strong revenue increasing measures shortly, this more gradual approach does in no way jeopardize the country's ability to meet the fiscal targets agreed with the IMF. Meanwhile, monthly data published by the Central Bank indicates that international reserves are increasing, inflationary pressures are abating, and the exchange rate is beginning to stabilize. Global commodity prices have stabilized and are now forecast to rise over the medium term.
The President has consulted extensively with business and union representatives, civil society and opposition parties to foster ownership of and contribution to the reform program.
In light of the positive results achieved by the government of Suriname in a short period of time, we reiterate our intention to continue to work in close cooperation with the international financial institutions to meet and exceed the conditions of the government's program, with the goal of securing macroeconomic stability and carrying out the institutional and legal reforms to restore economic growth and financial stability.
September 26, 2016
The Minister of Finance
of the Republic of Suriname,
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SOURCE Ministerie Van Financien