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Productivity key to success of stimulus plan

estimates2013marathompsonGovernment MP Mara Thompson is trumpeting her administration’s new $600 million economic stimulus package, which she expected to boost housing, tourism and road works in Barbados.

But the St. John representative is urging Barbadians to “give us a return on our investment” by increasing productivity.

Speaking in the House of Assembly this morning during the Estimates Debate, the Deputy Speaker praised the stimulus package outlined by Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Chris Sinckler yesterday.

“This package is intended to stimulate growth in various sectors of the economy, namely housing, tourism, and road works. The most important thing about this said stimulus package is that it will create jobs, so that those young people who have been part of skills training will now have greater opportunities to find employment,” she said.

“I refer specifically to those who have trained or are about to train in areas such as masonry, carpentry, electricians, painters, steel benders, skid steer operators and backhoe operators.

“The creation of jobs will lead to stimulation of the economy in a real way, simply because it results in people having money in their pockets, what the economic gurus refer to as disposable income and will have the ripple effect of … more circulation of money because a person going to work has to buy lunch from the van, he has to take a bus to get to work.

“So there will be more spending power, more economic activity and even the Government will benefit from revenue from VAT, (other) taxes and the NIS as well,” she added.

Projects she expected to be economically stimulating included new high rise housing projects at The Grotto and Exmouth in St. Michael, the new cruise pier and accompanying facility and the $80 million to be invested in road improvements in partnership with the private sector.

Thompson added, however, that the success of each of these ventures and others in the stimulus package depended on the general work ethic of Barbadians.

“This can no longer just be about having a job and earning money, it must also be about making a contribution to national productivity and development. Productivity is an issue that most of us shy away from at the national level, but it is imperative that we address this issue here and now. It is the responsibly of every working citizen to give a truly honest day’s work; this means coming to work on time and working when at work,” she stated.

“As a Government we invest in you to the tune of so many millions of dollars spent in the education sector, the health sector, transportation and other social services. Now is the time to give back, give us a return on our investment.”

Thompson also saw a “pivotal role” for the unions who represented the workers.

“Throughout Barbados the unions have fought tirelessly for proper working conditions and wages, … now that has been achieved, we now implore the unions to partner with us, hold our hands and urge our workers to give of their best. Let us say no to tardiness and absenteeism and yes to improve productivity. This is what our nation needs at this critical economic juncture,” she urged. (SC)

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