Sir Franks knocks govt for decisions on salaries and hirings
With the Barbados economy said to be heading downhill, the chairman of Government’s Economic Policy Advisors Committee Sir Frank Alleyne today suggested that the writing has been on the wall for some time now and that the current Democratic Labour Party led administration needed to take its fair share of the blame.
“I think that in some respect we shot ourselves in the feet and I, up to this day, make reservations about the generous adjustments in salaries in 2009,” said Sir Frank, who quickly clarified that “it has nothing to do with the fact that I was out of the workforce for some time”.
“Also, I continue to be concerned about expansion in hiring, which took place in 2008/2009, and quite merrily in some of the statutory corporations,” he said.
“I understand why it happened but I don’t appreciate the decision,” he added, while stating that politicians were “prisoners” of their constituents.
Sir Frank was at the time addressing a modest gathering at the Ministry of Economic Affairs for its eighth annual lecture series. In attendance was Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler and the Governor of the Central Bank Dr Delisle Worrell.
Describing the Government’s Medium Term Development Strategy 2010–2014 (MTDS) as “almost a replay of 1994”, he warned that lost opportunities “can never be recovered”.
Sir Frank also highlighted the economic situation which faced the country in the early 1990s when there was the introduction of taxation, talks of privatization of Government agencies, private sector reform and other revenue enhancement and cost cutting measures. He openly queried: “Why did we drop this ball?”
And while the adjustment measures implemented in 1992 returned the economy to “real growth” in 1993, Sir Frank argued that “the 1992 structural adjustment programme was aborted for no good reasons”.
“When we go back in time, we are just recycling where we were about 22 years ago. I call it a lost 22 years,” he said, adding, “I always say to my children if you fool around today, you cannot make up for it tomorrow because new challenges come tomorrow and you have to be prepared to deal with them”.
Taking a close look at the Government’s targets in the MTDS, he said many would come to the conclusion that they were “overly ambitious”. However, the noted economist said, “In my view there is absolutely nothing wrong with the structure and the arguments of the medium term strategy.
“What you need to do is a sober reflection on the targets that you have set,” he, however, warned.
“So you must not beat yourself and say you have failed. You haven’t failed. It is just that you are anxious to give comfort to the public,” he said.
Sir Frank noted that there were several key issues that needed to be urgently addressed going forward, including decision making within Government agencies regarding approvals, the cost of doing business, backlog of court cases and the “inadequate” data system.
He also urged players in the tourism industry to “get on with business” now they have been given the concessions.
He also called on private sector players to “get on with the business of investing” and not “wait on government”.
Reflecting on the economic downturn of the 1990s and the structural adjustment programme that was introduced in 1992 when Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford was Prime Minister, Sir Frank said the current measures implemented were similar.
ALSO If you sign up for Barbados Today before independence you could WIN a 2014 Honda City! Go here for full details http://bit.ly/1oCHnej.