Bajan PM paints sobering picture of debt situation

Barbados PM Mia Mottley

(Barbados Nation) Prime Minister Mia Mottley has painted a sobering picture of the Barbados economy.

In a 40-minute press briefing yesterday afternoon, she sought to update the media and the public following the first full Cabinet meeting.

Speaking from Government Headquarters, Mottley said the island’s foreign reserves were in a “tenuous state” and about Bds$100 million in foreign debt payments were due between June 5 and July 18.

“Our ability to finance our deficit is compromised. We’ve talked for the last four, five years about the printing of money with the central bank

“We recognise as well that with the 23 credit downgrades, we are literally boxed out of the international capital markets and even if we were able to borrow it would be at extraordinarily and horrendously high prices that would compromise the country,” the Prime Minister said.

Mottley pointed out that Government’s arrears were in the vicinity of Bds$1.7 billion at September 30 and she expected to receive a May 31 update next Tuesday.

She said as of September 30, outstanding wire transfers as per the Accountant General’s records were Bds$621.4 million and the University of the West Indies was owed Bds$229.7 million as per the last audit confirmation.  State owned enterprises were owed  Bds$467.7 million and approximately Bds$345 million was owed by  the Barbados Revenue Authority.

Mottley said large amounts of these debts were owed by statutory corporations. The Barbados Water Authority owed Bds$55.52 million at September 30 and approximately Bds$70 million now.

The Prime Minister said CBC’s debts could be in the region of Bds$125 million.

Mottley said an update on the way forward would come today.

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