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Major reform

by Shawn Cumberbatch

chrissincklermeetspress201304Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Chris Sinckler is “disappointed” with the current state of the island’s economy and has put “the entire country” on notice he will soon be serving up some additional measures to solve the island’s “fiscal slippage”.

Sinckler kept plans for an adjusted Medium Term Fiscal Strategy, he conceded was now “off track”, close to his chest this evening during his first major statement on the economy since the Estimates Debate.

But he said following consultations with the Social Partnership and other interest groups not only would Government be taking new measures to better manage its finances, but the plan which would affect the entire country.

“Generally there really ought to be across the entire country a sense of fiscal discipline, a sense of financial discipline. As you know, not only governments have high debts and high deficits, individuals and businesses can as well and we all have to find ways in which to ensure that we adumbrate our ambitions to the extent where we can meet what we have to do constructively from what we produce,” the told the media during a lengthy Press conference at Government Headquarters.

“And that’s really the mantra, so to speak, that’s really the message which we have to give to the general public. But in the context of our own public finances, I can say from the Government’s perspective that we will in fact be bringing proposals to Parliament that will seek to bring our fiscal programme back on track.”

The minister said his ministry was in the process of revising the MTFS Central Bank of Barbados Governor Dr. DeLisle Worrell recently said needed changing and that the changes would involve major reforms.

He acknowledged that the situation in the country “is tough” and that the first quarter economic performance and the fiscal deterioration over the last year were significant setbacks.

But he insisted again that the problems were not entirely home grown.

“Naturally, we are all disappointed by this performance. However, we are mindful of the stark reality that even as our tolerance for low growth, and slow recovery wears thinner each day, the process of economic recovery to more sustainable levels of economic output will remain challenges by the continued difficult and uncertain external economic conditions we continue to grapple with,” Sinckler said.

“As international demand for our goods and services continue to be weak, and foreign direct investment flows still below pre crisis levels due to investor uncertainty, the knock on effect on the Barbados economy will remain strong and stimy our chances for a stronger recover.”

In the light of the challenges, Sinckler said Government had no choice but to take action, including getting back on track in “undertaking the structural reforms in our economy that will lay a solid and reliable platform for sustainable growth in the medium term”.

He also saw a need to “redouble our efforts at fiscal consolidation by undertaking further strategic reforms in the public sector, particularly the statutory entities currently owned by the people of Barbados”.

“It is against the backdrop of the present global economic and financial realities, that your government has established these objectives as the frame around which the country’s economic recovery must be based,” he said.

“Not based on quick fixes, feel good measures that give short term pleasure but long term pain, or unrealistic attempts to sell government and its assets to the highest bidder with the deepest pocks. But to set a solid medium term fiscal consolidation and economic growth programme that is flexible enough to accommodate adjustments to suit the dynamic changes in the global economy.

“To this extent we strong believe that our current strategy is the correct one for our type of economy in the current conditions,” he added.

Sinckler said while Government had not reached all its economic and fiscal objectives, the situation was not as bad as critics stated.

“Have we achieved everything that we wanted to achieve? Of course not. How could we in these circumstances? But if people are fair minded and we look at what we have to deal with, we know that there are major structural problems which we have to address, then we will deal with it,” he stated.

3 Responses to Major reform

  1. Tony Webster April 26, 2013 at 6:08 am

    OK…I’m trying to “adumbrate”. Never met this fellow before, so I hive off to my Oxford Seniour dictionary. Nope, no entry! Then resort to my dad’s Magnum Opus, “Chambers 20th Cenrury”..and YES! Adumbrate “…does NOT as I thought, mean “A Dumb Brat”…or even “A dumb Bajan”…it means “to cast a faint shadow”. I’m still in the dark (along with two or three other Bajans I hope) who have no idea how adumbrating in our (suddenly) much worse circumstances (now that February is safely past us) is going to help us . Heck, maybe, its a typo…and he meant “percolate”?? I do read, and understand, that Hon. minister sez “We strong (sic) believe that our current strategy is the correct one…in our current conditions”. While this sounds suspiciously like warmed-over soup, THAT I can understand…but adumbrate to believe it: figures, please. Facts, please. And please Sir…speak Bajan…just so we can undumbrate it all: smell it, stir it; swallow, and enjoy the bowl of medicine which we all knew, awaited us. All in the light, not of shadow, but of searing reality.

  2. Michael Goddard April 26, 2013 at 10:43 am

    Aside from the poor choice of language the minister says one thing but does another. If government were serious about Fiscal discipline they would do something about it. To start with how about having all government agencies and statutory corporations publish timely financial statements. That means annually. Sadly years go by for many of them with NO PUBLISHED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS. How is he managing these money holes? Next follow the Auditor generals report. Each year the Auditor General dutifully publishes a report pointing out the areas where controls are poor and what needs to be improved in the management of the peoples money. Its the role of the Public Accounts Committee to review the reports and call on government officers to account for explain the shortcomings. Essentially hold people accountable for what they are required (by law) to do! The Public Accounts Committee has NOT REVIEWED THE AUDITOR GENERALS REPORT FOR FIVE YEARS! I suggest that sometimes its the dull boring stuff of doing things correctly and holding people accountable for what they should do that will win the day. No flashy medium term strategy required. No consultants and misconceived projects. Prudence with the public purse, store away funds when times are good to smooth over tough times.

  3. mark grannum April 26, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    Mark Grannum After receiving 600,000,000.00 dollars where he come from Mars he must think we foolish or something just two weeks ago the Prime Minister issued a stimulus package for the sum above wait dose this me he spend it already and want more……. Or that that was for winning the election and the paycheck for the Ministers let us know so we can sell some more children to slavery to pay these big bills because we already sold we land to pay the taxes, sold the fields to pay the dept, put the children in slavery to pay the king, now we fields and vineyards belong to foreigners, tell me now……


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