The Ministry of Finance and Planning held a briefing on the recovery plan for the Chinese Embassy and the Chinese business community in Suriname on Saturday. Minister Armand Achaibersingh hosted Ambassador Han Jing and Wang Hailong, President of the Association of Chinese Enterprises in Suriname (ACES). ACES is a comprehensive organization of Chinese state-owned companies and individuals in Suriname.
Achaepressing briefly addressed the audience before Martin Schalkwijk, Recovery Plan Coordinator, gave a presentation. The Minister explained in general terms the need for a recovery plan to restore the financial and economic situation of our country.
He stressed that a number of successful measures have been implemented in the meantime. The minister referred, among other things, to the measures that led to the stability of the exchange rate. “These actions had to be taken, otherwise at some point we will have an exchange rate of 40-60 SRD to the US dollar.”
The Minister also briefed the attendees on the negotiations with the International Monetary Fund. The minister emphasized that due to Suriname’s high debt burden, IMF support is needed to get out of the economic trough.
The government entered into a staff-level agreement with the fund several months ago and negotiations will be formally concluded soon. Subsequently, the financial support will be released in the form of a loan of $690 million at a concessional interest rate. Meanwhile, negotiations are underway with domestic and foreign creditors on debt restructuring. Suriname is saddled with a debt burden of more than $3 billion. Achaipersinghe stressed that debt restructuring is important so that Suriname can invest in its economy.
Schalkwyk detailed the current actions, the measures that would be followed and their impact on the economy. He talked about the timber sector in which many Chinese businessmen are involved. The government wants to achieve a situation where the final products are also produced for export. Minister Achaipersing also called on Chinese entrepreneurs active in the sector to contribute as well.
Ambassador Jing welcomes the initiative of the Ministry of Finance and Planning to update the Chinese Embassy on the status of the recovery plan. ACES President Wang Hailong said the Suriname government can count on the support of the Chinese business community when it comes to successfully implementing the measures. “We are confident that Suriname will have a good future.”
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