OREANDA-NEWS. Mr. Daniel Leigh, head of the IMF’s staff team for Suriname, issued the following statement in Washington today:

“The government of Suriname has been taking important steps to implement its home-grown reform program in response to the difficult economic situation the country is facing. The authorities have now adopted all prior actions agreed in discussions with the IMF staff, paving the way for the IMF’s Executive Board to consider a two-year Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) with the Fund in support of Suriname’s reform program on May 27. The SBA would provide financial assistance in an amount equivalent to approximately US$478 million.

“This is a challenging program that will require great efforts from Surinamese society as a whole to stabilize the economy and set the stage for recovery. The authorities’ program includes measures to strengthen the social safety net, including through increased spending on social cash transfer programs, to moderate any negative impact of macroeconomic adjustment. It also provides tax breaks to protect taxpayers’ purchasing power and raises capital spending to create jobs and build infrastructure.

“We welcome the decision taken in recent days to raise electricity tariffs to cover 60 percent of the cost of electricity production, while structuring the tariffs so that the biggest consumers bear the largest part of the adjustment burden. The gradual elimination of electricity subsidies will make space for better targeted social spending and improve the fiscal situation.

“The authorities’ reform program, backed by the IMF, can provide a durable solution to the underlying problems facing the country, as well as a path toward sustained growth.”