Finance Minister slams statement by UWI professor on IMF report

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Finance Minister slams statement by UWI professor on IMF report

The Minister of Finance, Colm Imbert, calls UWI Professor Roger Hosein statement on the IMF 2023 Article IV Report erroneous and ridiculous.

In a media release issued this morning by Minister Imbert, he states that on May 1, 2023, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the 2023 Article IV consultation with Trinidad and Tobago and considered and endorsed the appraisal of its staff of the Trinidad and Tobago economy.

“The 2023 Report was subsequently published on the IMF’s website on May 5, 2023 and is available for free download at:

In this 2023 Article IV Report, the IMF made the following statements, among others:
 The Trinidad and Tobago economy is recovering supported by higher global energy prices
and the rebound of the non-energy sector.
 The financial sector appears well-capitalized, liquid, and profitable. Higher global energy
prices helped improve the external position, turn the FY2022 fiscal position into a surplus,
and lower public debt.
 The economic recovery is expected to gain broad-based momentum in 2023, with real
growth of 3.2% in 2023.

The authorities’ commitment to balancing the budget over the medium term is prudent and
 Staff welcomes and supports the authorities’ efforts in embracing Fintech for financial
inclusion and development, while working on mitigating its potential risks. Noteworthy are
the efforts, in collaboration with IMF Technical Assistance, to develop the Fintech
ecosystem (e.g., the Joint Regulatory Hub, launching a Regulatory Sandbox, developing
the payment system, and strengthening the cybersecurity).
 Staff welcomes the authorities’ efforts to strengthen the financial integrity and international
tax transparency frameworks.
 The country’s actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are commendable.
 The quality, timeliness, and coverage of statistics has improved.
Yet, in the face of this good news, Professor Hosein, has declared, without any rational basis, in
an article published in the Express today, entitled “Economist: Data tells a different story”, that
“he preferred to look at the data itself rather than the worded reports”, because, according to him:
“the IMF and some of these institutions tend to write flowery, so I tend to rely on the data in the
report and if you look at the data in the report, it tells you a disturbing story about the Trinidad
and Tobago economy.”
Professor Hosein claimed that “the data showed T&T having 4.5 per cent reduction in real GDP
growth in 2023 compared to 2022.”
This statement by Professor Hosein is fallacious and appears to be a product of his own
imagination. In fact, it boggles the mind as to why this UWI economist would go to such lengths
to try to discredit the IMF, simply because the IMF has commended the Government for its prudent
management of the Trinidad and Tobago economy. Indeed, it is absurd for him to try to justify his
erroneous statements by saying that the IMF and other international institutions tend to write
The 2023 IMF Article IV Report, which was endorsed by the Executive Board of the IMF, is
based on the data it gathered in an intensive two-week official Article IV visit to Trinidad and
Tobago in March 2023. During that visit, the IMF met with numerous Government agencies,
private companies in the energy sector, business organisations and other stakeholders, and its team
of highly trained world-class economists, rigorously and comprehensively interrogated all the
information presented to it.
In the published 2023 Article IV Report, in a Table entitled “Trinidad and Tobago: Selected
Social and Economic Indicators, 2017-2023”, the IMF clearly indicates that its projection of
real economic growth for Trinidad and Tobago for 2023 is +3.2%.

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There is no data of any kind in the Report that would lead any serious person to conclude that
Trinidad and Tobago would have a reduction in real economic growth in 2023 of -4.5% as
erroneously claimed by Professor Hosein.
Further, the Central Statistical Office on its website only has published economic data up to the
end of September 2022 and therefore there is no “new and improved data for 2023 that tells a
completely different story”, from any recognized or official source, as erroneously claimed by
Professor Hosein.
Indeed, it is outrageous for him to claim that he somehow has access to “new and improved data”
for 2023, when we are only in May 2023, and the CSO will not be reporting on 2023 economic

data for several months. Professor Hosein’s ridiculous statements are an affront to the hard-
working staff of the Ministry of Finance and an insult to the professionalism of the IMF Mission

Team for Trinidad and Tobago.