Support for Estwick’s plan
Minister of Agriculture Dr David Estwick’s alternative economic plan for turning around the fortunes of this country appears to be getting support from at least one of his Cabinet colleagues.
Addressing the start of a regional conference here this morning, Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development Donville Inniss repeated a salient portion of his colleague’s proposals, which were presented to Cabinet for consideration several months ago.
“We cannot tax or borrow our way out of our current situation; nor will such actions place us on a sustainable path of growth and further development,” said Inniss, essentially echoing Estwick’s contention, during an address at the opening of a two-day Regional Consultation On Market Intelligence And Export Strategy Development at Radisson Aquatica Resort.
Inniss also suggested that increased exports of goods and services were mandatory for the region, including Barbados, to pull itself out of a challenged economic situation.
“I am satisfied that our efforts at developing and implementing a relevant export strategy, that is based on best market intelligence principles, will not only guide us through, but will turn our economies around,” he added.
In a document addressed to Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and dated January 13, 2014, Estwick wrote: “Prime Minister, we cannot cut and tax our way out of a current account deficit of this magnitude ($1.1 billion), without seriously undermining economic growth, as we are attempting to do with the present round of austerity measures.
“I have consistently indicated to you and the Cabinet this conclusion since 2010,” he added.
Estwick had also identified household consumption (72.7 per cent), import of goods and services (49 per cent) and exports (46.5 per cent), as the three largest drivers of the economy, which, according to him, explained why the present retrenchment plan would worsen the growth prospects of the economy.
Prime Minister Stuart is yet to publicly pronounce on Estwick’s plan and whether or not Cabinet would adopt any of it.
The plan calls for three strategies working in parallel simulataneously –– a short-term strategy to address the principal economic factor that is undermining economic investment; a medium-term strategy to aggressively push foreign direct investment led projectsp; and a strategy to create new enterprises.”