Suriname’s Debt Crisis Is Putting Santokhi in a Bind

Suriname’s Debt Crisis Is Putting Santokhi in a Bind
Suriname’s President Chan Santokhi applauds as he observes a military parade during his inauguration ceremony in Paramaribo, Suriname, July 16, 2020 (AP photo by Ertugrul Kilic).

On Feb. 17, 2023, with expectations of a pending oil boom dashed and amid growing economic anxiety, hundreds of protesters in Suriname broke into the National Assembly building in the country’s capital, Paramaribo. The violence followed President Chan Santokhi’s decision earlier this year to comply with the conditions of the government’s International Monetary Fund, or IMF, loan agreement, including a phasing out of state subsidies for fuel and electricity and the introduction of a new tax on imported goods.

Suriname negotiated the $690 million Extended Fund Facility program with the IMF in 2021, after its economy shrank by 16 percent in 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. That followed growth of only 1.1 percent the previous year. In addition, the country’s growing debt burden combined with the government’s dwindling coffers, which made that debt increasingly difficult to service, triggered a restructuring process with Suriname’s creditors in 2020.

Disbursement of the IMF funds, designed to be paid out over several increments, was conditional on the government agreeing to cut budgetary spending by 10 percent of GDP from 2022 to 2024. After receiving an initial disbursement of $55.1 million in December 2021, however, Suriname did not fully implement the required cuts to public expenditure, leading the IMF to halt further disbursements.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.