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Information sharing a priority

Economist says information deficit hurting investors' confidence

Economist Jeremy Stephen is concerned that the lack of timely information from the Government, when it comes to various development projects, could be affecting the level of confidence among local and international investors.

Stephen, who is the president of the Barbados Economic Society (BES), said while a number of multi-million dollar construction projects have been talked about it was still unclear how advanced those plans were, or where the funding would be coming from.

He warned that in order to restore confidence and attract more local and international investment, responsible sharing of information was critical.

“We are still a bit early into the fiscal year but a bit later in the calendar year, and the fact remains that many of the projects were spoken about since last year yet we are still not sure where the funding is coming from,” he said in an interview with Barbados TODAY.

“You would have recently heard that an organisation had pulled out its interest out of Barbados in connection with the cruise [terminal] and Pierhead Marina Project. Those kinds of setbacks are very untimely when we do realise that this, and Government has begun to admit this very loudly, that we have an investment problem.”

Noting that he was not the “biggest fan” of the revenue measures put in place by the Government, Stephen said investment was key to working with those measures as well as other cost cutting initiatives to drive the economy out of the recession.

He said it was in Government’s best interest at this time, “especially since this is a crisis of confidence domestically” to appeal to the confidence of local investors.

“So information sharing has to be a priority going forward. Not to the detriment of the Government, but information sharing as to where projects are, where the funding for these projects are, what are our expectations as a country and as citizens, and what are the expectations for domestic investors and foreign investors. So the more information the quicker I figure that we can actually deal with this problem collectively,” he added.

Lauding the Sandals group for sticking to its word of investing millions of dollars into the struggling Barbados economy, Stephen added that it was a good sign that should make a big difference to the country over time.

“It gives us a bit of a kick start in the economy for jobs in construction, which is integral to this economy. It also helps with our tourism product. On the construction side a good short-term bet, on the tourism side a good long-term bet and they must be applauded for that.”


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