Finance minister not taking chances with global economic recovery

Esther Byer-Suckoo pauses on her way into parliament.
Esther Byer-Suckoo pauses on her way into parliament.

Barbados has a new strategy for getting out of the current economic rut. This time, however, it is taking no chances with the numbers on which it is basing its programme.

Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler said this evening: “Following more internal review and consultations, we are happy to report to this Parliament and the country as a whole that Cabinet has approved laying in this House the new Growth and Development Strategy for Barbados.

“This growth and development strategy 2013-2020 charts a clear direction for our sustainable green economic growth and development priorities over the next eight years. It defines Government’s plan to institute a sequence of managed structural adjustments and reforms which are critical to the country’s sustainable economic, human and social development over the planning horizon 2013-2020.

“The theme of Barbados’ Growth and Development Strategy 2013-2020 is ‘Adjustment, Reform, Recovery and Sustainability’.”

The minister added: “Immediate adjustment is needed to reduce the fiscal deficit and the debt-to-GDP ratio to more sustainable levels, while growing foreign reserves. Reform speaks to the necessary policies, programmes and institutions which must be implemented in the short to medium-term in order to strengthen Barbados’ economic and social fundamentals.

“The positive economic impacts of the adjustment and reform activities will facilitate our recovery and return to a trajectory of economic growth. The strategy proposes that growth should be managed on the basis of annual targets set by the Social Partnership, with the progress and achievement of the aforementioned targets being closely monitored and controlled.

“Sustainability of our economic growth and development over the 2013-2020 period will be assured through this nation’s commitment to productivity, efficiency, competitiveness and service excellence.”

He noted that the policies, strategies and projects outlined would “require us all, to share in the burden of fiscal adjustment, structural reform and the restoration of growth and sustainability”.

“However, even as we make this transition to new circumstances, we must ensure that we take strategic advantage of the opportunities that will arise to aid us in continuing to protect the poorest, indigent and most vulnerable members of our society.”

The minister then called on the “private sector, labour and the wider public to work assiduously to implement its recommendations”.

Then he made it clear: “Unlike our previous Medium-Term Fiscal Strategy, we have not worked on the assumption that global economic growth and recovery will be robust. In fact, to the contrary, we start from the opposite view that low growth and anaemic demand for our goods and services internationally will likely continue well into the planning period.

“To this extent, we have settled on the firm view that until global growth and recovery is evident, a major 18-month programme of fiscal adjustments and specific growth initiatives will have to be implemented to pull our economy around, stabilise and grow the international reserves, and create new jobs through major private and public investments.” (RRM)

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