Too much focus on layoffs
David Simpson, president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Barbados (ICAB), has dismissed the notion that Government’s retrenchment programme was intended to be the single step that would solve the island’s financial woes.
Simpson told Barbados TODAY that while he understood no one wants to lose their job, the national discussion is too focused on the layoffs instead of the strategies for growth.
“The layoffs were not meant to fix everything,” he said.
“My concern is that there appears now to be a focus that suggests that layoffs were intended to be the one single step that would fix the economy or turn it around. I don’t believe that,” said Simpson.
“All in all people’s focus right now that the layoffs are or were meant to be, or can be the only means to turning the situation around is false . . . . You have to realize too that you have a 19-month programeme. Going forward I think our focus needs to be on growth,” said Simpson.
Government is expected to save $35 million for the last quarter of this financial year and about $143 million in a full financial year. This is expected to affect over 3,000 public sector employees.
“I hope when Government is able to do its review and report that they are able to come pretty close to those targets because once those targets are achieved I think Government will be more satisfied that their plan is going as they desire,”
In order to achieve economic growth, the accountant said emerging industries, including information technology, animation and application software, should also be closely examined and capitalized on.
“There needs to be serious steps towards growth . . . We have to look at our existing industries that have brought us to this point, number one being tourism. We have international business, manufacturing and agriculture, and determine what incentives, what new innovative practices can be employed to take these industries forward that will grow them and that will allow them to earn foreign exchange, and also to increase the local consumption and demand for these services and these sectors locally,” explained Simpson.
“Those are the areas we have to focus on because what growth will bring hopefully is varied products and services that will then generate demand and that is what then will increase your revenue and ability to earn foreign exchange,” he said.