The recent downgrade of the Barbados economy by international rating agency Standard & Poor’s should serve as wake-up call for the private sector to do more global trade in key foreign exchange earning sectors.
This assessment from Joel Richards, trade consultant at the Barbados Private Sector Sector Trade Team (BPSTT), who told Barbados TODAY that the downgrade reinforced the need for companies to capitalise on existing trade agreements in an effort to attract more foreign exchange.
Last week, Standard & Poor’s shifted the Barbados long-term credit rating from BB-plus to BB-minus due to persistent account deficit and high fiscal deficit. It assigned a negative outlook to the country’s economic performance.
Richards said while he did not foresee any significant negative impact on trade as a result of the downgrade, the foreign exchange earning sectors needed to “get back on track”, however, if improvements were to be made to the island’s struggling economy.
“We really need to get our foreign exchange sectors back on track, especially manufacturing and tourism,” said Richards.
He said: “We have to try and make it a national priority to be able to get investment in those foreign exchange sectors. So we have to start looking at our investment policies as well, to see the kind of companies we can get to set up in Barbados, what we need to do to get them here and get them to stay.”
He also identified agro-processing as one of the areas that could be developed to earn revenues.