Suriname walks away from IMF conditionalities

3 July 2017

In May, the government of Suriname announced in parliament that it had cancelled its two-year Stand-By Arrangement with the IMF. At the time of the announcement, the first 80 million euro tranche of the 425 million euro loan programme agreed in April 2016 had already been d isbursed. According to Suriname newspaper The Parbode, the relationship between the South American country and the IMF had “worsened” in the last year due to the IMF programme’s conditionalities, which included introducing VAT and cutting subsidies for fuel, electricity and water. Surinamese president Desi Bouterse said to Belgian news site De Redactie that “the burden of these costs would be too much to bear for its citizens”. The same news site reported that, to make up for the resource short-fall, the government raised funds through international capital markets, the Inter-American Development Bank and the Islamic Development Bank before cancelling the IMF loan.

While the IMF has confirmed this development to inquiring press, no official statement has been published. The last official document it published specific to Suriname was the January Article IV consultation, in which IMF directors agreed that “decisive reforms” are required for Suriname and called for “redoubled efforts” by the Surinamese government that put “fiscal consolidation … at the center of the policy effort”. In a February press conference President Bouterse responded to the Article IV report by calling the IMF “cold”.