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Get moving

Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur thinks not enough emphasis is being placed on public sector capital works investments by the Freundel Stuart administration.

Arthur raised this concern yesterday while speaking to members of the press in Parliament Buildings, The City.

Arguing that Government capital works programme can create employment, Arthur said: “Part of the growth of the economy comes from a strong public sector capital programme. The Government capital works programme is smaller than it was under Prime Minister Tom Adams. In my last year as Prime Minister, the Government’s capital works programme was $250 million. A strong capital works programme would enable Barbados to have official capital inflows to supplement private capital inflows. This would generate employment and enable the country to sustain growth.”

Noting that controversial minister Dr David Estwick is the chairman of the Government Infrastructural Committee, Arthur said he should be soliciting concessionary funding to implement a strong capital works programme.

Arthur pointed out that that these programmes bring in capital, generate employment and assist in the restructuring of the economy.

Stressing the importance of capital works programmes, Arthur said: “It is my judgement that the matter of the policy formulation implementation capacities of the Government have to be seriously addressed if we are to get out of this mess.”

Launching a verbal attack on Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler and the operations of the Central Bank, the St Peter MP said: “This is not the time for blundering. However, I believe it is now clear that the Minister of Finance is a ‘Serial Blunderer’. The role to be performed by the Central Bank has to be revisited and properly calibrated. The Central Bank has no business being the principal agency for Government’s fiscal policy. That is not its role.

“ I stress the point because we have now come to the stage where thousands of Barbadians are going home. They are going home not because Government does not have a fiscal strategy, they are going home in spite of the fact that there have been two attempts at a
Medium Term Fiscal Policy in place. In large measure they were the output of the Central Bank. People now go over to the Central Bank and do things that the Ministry of Finance has historically done, Arthur added.

The St Peter MP expressed concern that the Central Bank “now jumps in and bails out the Government financially by printing large sums
of money”.

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