Montserrat requests IMF evaluation of its economic health

Montserrat has taken the bold step to invite the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to conduct an Article IV Consultation to evaluate the island’s economic health.

{FILE IMAGE} Assistant Private Secretary Amanda McLoughlin, UK Secretary of State for International Development, Rt. Hon. Andrew Mitchell, DFID Director for SHMECOT Susan Wardell, and Chief Minister of Montserrat, Hon. Reuben T. Meade following a helicopter tour of Montserrat’s Exclusion Zone. (GIU Photo)

This move was commended by UK Secretary of State Hon. Andrew Mitchell when he visited the island two weeks ago and Chief Minister Hon. Reuben T. Meade said this evaluation was a necessary step to have an independent analysis of the economy and engage with donor countries for future financial support.

According to information published on the Ministry of Finance’s website “Montserrat is not a member of the IMF but as an Overseas Territory of the UK is able to access its services through the United Kingdom’s membership. The ability to access this service and the information provided from the assessments made will help the Government make better policy decisions and deliver more targeted programmes. It will also help the Government make the case to donor countries for support, especially at this point where evidence based justification is essential.”

An IMF Article IV Consultation involves economists continually and regularly monitoring the economic performance once they begin. “They will visit member countries—usually annually—to exchange views with the government and central bank and focus on whether there are risks to domestic and external stability that argue for adjustments in economic or financial policies. During their mission, IMF staff also typically meets with other stakeholders, such as parliamentarians and representatives of business, labor unions, and civil society to help evaluate the country’s economic policies and direction. On return to headquarters, the mission submits a report to the IMF’s Executive Board for discussion. The Board’s views are subsequently transmitted to the country’s authorities.

In recent years, surveillance has become increasingly transparent. Almost all member countries now agree to publication of a Public Information Notice, which summarizes the views of the Executive Board. In nine out of ten cases, the staff report and accompanying analysis are also published on the IMF’s website.

Clearly at a time when citizens are requesting more information and are expressing a desire to participate in the decision making process, the format of the consultations lend itself to greater public participation and scrutiny. The IMF also provides training in the preparation and interpretation of the reports. This may in the long run benefit the public with increased knowledge and awareness of the economy,” the ministry website explained.

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