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Data needed to plan way foward

Private sector players are not pleased that they’re being told to lead economic growth but are not being given critical data which they need to make important decisions.

In a media conference today, chairman of the Barbados Private Sector Association (BPSA), Alex McDonald, told journalists that on many occasions the association asked government for detailed statistics on vital issues including foreign exchange reserves but still had not received the information

McDonald said it was not a matter of wanting to know if the numbers were good or bad but it was “so that we can collectively plan our way forward”.

He said while it was agreed that the performance of the last Budget would be an agenda item to be reported at every subcommittee of the Social Partnership meetings which are held every four to six weeks, that too was yet to materialize.

Over the past few months it has been noted by a number of local and international agencies that Barbados ranked poorly when it came to having up to date statistics in certain areas.

“We have not had what we would consider to be the metrics we have asked for . . . What we asked for is not just data for its own sake. But we do communicate with foreign investors, local investors and I think at a level of certainty is what we are calling for,” said McDonald.

“The private sector has been charged with stabilizing and growing the economy and as such we are of the view that it is imperative to have full and frank disclosure of all the performance metrics on a real time basis if there is to be complete understanding of our fiscal and economic position.

“We in the private sector endorse the view that hard facts or empirical evidence is the basis on which sound decisions can be made. Only then can the private sector fully and accurately consider the measures leading to decisive actions that are required to build and restore confidence in the economy,” he stated.

He said over the past months and as recently as this week the BPSA had been “bombarded” with data, which “seem credible” but could not be verified “from the official channels”.

“The BPSA has formally written [and] spoken to our counterparts in government requesting current statistics on important areas such as foreign reserves, tourist arrivals, fiscal deficit and debt ratio, among others. But to date there has been no reciprocal feedback to our request,”                added McDonald.

“We want to be included in bringing our nation through this storm. In fact, we must be included as it is generally recognized that true growth in the economy can only come from the private sector.

“Today we are publicly calling for the kind of feedback, exchange and interaction that helps us to provide the level of confidence and stability required to move our great nation forward,” pleaded McDonald.

He said the Press conference was following on a previous one that was held “many months ago” at which time the association outlined its position on how the private sector viewed the developing economic climate at that time.

McDonald said: “Between that time and now the BPSA has been engaged in discussions regarding the unfolding state of our economy and the way forward, and the concern we have over the protracted challenges and the likely negative impact this performance will have in the next few months if this trend continues unabated.”

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