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Sell what?

Sinckler reacts to talk of privatization

Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler says while Government is open to selling off some state enterprises, as some economists have recommended as a way to improving public finances and helping to accelerate recovery of the economy, it has to carefully approach the issue before taking a decision.

“We are not rushing ahead to just go picking this and picking that and privatize this and privatize that,” he told reporters this week. “We are going to [take] a judicious approach to this matter, where it lends itself, where everything substantially lines up, and we will consider it.

“If it doesn’t, we look at the cost all around – financial, social and environmental costs – and then we make a decision. It is not that we are opposed to doing it but it has to be done for the right reasons and in the right way”, Sinckler added.

In determining which entities to offer for sale, Sinckler acknowledged that it would be easier to “move” a commercial entity that was making a loss, than an entity that was offering social services.

“That is why I say, strategically, Government looks at its asset base and it sees which ones make sense to move that can give immediate, medium and longer term benefits, and we have not been shy to do that. Where they have deeper and serious implications negatively on both the public and the Government side, we have to study those things very carefully,” he explained.

So far, Government has announced the intended sale of the Barbados National Oil Company (BNOC). The sale of that entity is being finalized.

Earlier this week on a televised programme to discuss the island’s economic performance, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill economist Professor Andrew Downes spoke about the issue of public sector reform, saying there was an increase in transfers and subsidies to statutory corporations.

Downes said it was about time “fundamental decisions” were made in that regard. Without naming any state entity, he added that some were established to enhance efficiency but were instead creating problems of inefficiency. These ones, he added, should be examined and restructured or closed.

“One will argue there are legislative issues involved but I don’t know if there is where the problem is in relation to getting the work done because we have to follow certain regulations, laws and so forth going forward, but we need to take a serious look at it,” said Downes.

Sinckler said it was necessary to take into consideration the implications of privatizing the state entities, especially the social services.

“So when I hear people say privatization, I ask them privatize which companies. Are you talking about sanitation services? Are you talking about public transport, hospital services? Which ones are you talking about because each one of those has a particular challenge or set of challenges that would have to be carefully thought about before you go down that road because it has implications for ordinary citizens in Barbados,” he added.

“So when people say privatization, they have to study all of the permutation and implications around the suggestions
I hear them making in relation to that,” insisted Sinckler. “So I think that rather than people saying, ‘let’s privatize this and let’s privatize that’ because it sounds good and looks easy to do, to give it a little bit more thought as to the implications of it and how it can be done.”

10 Responses to Sell what?

  1. Veroniva Boyce
    Veroniva Boyce January 29, 2016 at 5:34 am

    He ain’t got a CLUE!

  2. Veroniva Boyce
    Veroniva Boyce January 29, 2016 at 5:34 am
  3. Tony Webster January 29, 2016 at 5:52 am

    “Fundamental decisions”, as Prof. Downes has now publicly said to his credit, will have a scope of many years….like 15, or 20, or even more…maybe…even 50. Such might quite rationally include the avoidance of becoming another li’l bump on the dump-heap of “failed states”. One of the inherent difficulties in a poltitical administration taking such decisions is however, the glasses which our Honourable and Relevant folks wear: these have a fixed-focus at 5 yards ( or years, I forget). If however, we had a beneovent dictator, like Cde. Uncle Bob, over there in Zim….shutes….we cud really plan…and implement ( that word again) real change!

    What about it guys…a republic of Bim…it even rhymes …wid Zim.

    BTW: whilst I have – quite honestly- congratulated our Professor…I actually recall seeing reams of print…saying the same thing…(albeit by lesser mortals) the run-up to our 2008 elections.

    Adversity surely concentrates the mind…and once your pension is assured…why not….leave a dignified legacy behind? The ides of January…are clearly with us…beware the ides…and the tides. The tide cometh in…and the tide goeth out. Blessed be the tides.

  4. Thomas Browne January 29, 2016 at 6:59 am

    This really in not rocket science.. Every forward thinking country around the globe is doing it. Get on with the job of making decisions and changes that can open up the economy leading to growth and efficiency and wider the participation. Not to mention lesson the budget in central government which they clearly are struggling to manage. Engage the people of Barbados and move forward.

  5. Stanton Peace
    Stanton Peace January 29, 2016 at 7:16 am

    I must certainly be dreaming,is this the same DLP party that had opposed Owen Arthur when he opened this topic for discussion in the 2008 election campaign and told the electorate that this concept would not be good for the Barbados economy and would devastate it. Well it surely seems that we are back to square one.

  6. James Franks January 29, 2016 at 7:34 am

    Sell what exactly??

    Nothing of value left to sell. Tourism??

    Time to buck your ideas up Mr.Stinker.

  7. Thomas Browne January 29, 2016 at 9:35 am

    There are still lots of activities/services that the government provides… not very well i.e. transport, road maintenance, school meals. Set up the framework for how these services should be provided and off load these to the private sector. Then the government can focus of governing (rather running services) and most importantly planning for the future and ongoing development of Barbados.

  8. jrsmith January 29, 2016 at 10:35 am

    Been saying this this for 3 years, but, the only thing, which is a head ache to the Barbados government , the transport system , this can be as a single entity, or as it was before , we had the General,, the National, the Progressive, the Diamond, the Rocklyn and Rockley could be others cant remember, to get this back we would need to import ,a business , transport consultant manager.. we have no one in or out of government who could tackle this , this would be over the government ministers head…

    What I think the ,minister should do is to , advise the priminister, not to borrow money to build a hotel, something which governments don’t do, To be borrowing 290 millions dollars to build a hotel, is the biggest disaster by this government, because of its limited employment banding, for the next 3 years and then , what, ( at the moment the idea should be disbanded.

    Already we have a threatening issue , which could destroy the tourist industry, in Barbados and the region,(ZIKA VIRUS). we are in for vary hard ride . .. This money should be invested in the infrucsture of Barbados, roads, water ,sewage , light and power, schools repairs government buildings and upgrades, storm drainage, security, on roads cameras every where, airport and sea port..
    Building a smaller hospital, between Christ church st,george and st Phillip.. to take the over flow , from the old unit
    this is the only way Barbados is going to pull out of this economic grave… this would deploy employment for at least 2000 people plus. bearing in mind the government is the largest employer on the island…

  9. Thomas Browne January 29, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    For starters, every area of governemnt should be required to develope a medium/long term plan and proposed strategy. This should be driven from a central consotium of government / independent experts / key stakeholders. It’d involve a full and detailed ‘bottom up’ review of all aspects of each ministry/department. It’d should identify all the strenghts, weaknesses, opportunities and treats. Following, say a six month review period, this information can all be consolidated by the central consortium with a view to agreeing what CHANGE is needed to take the country forward. This change will be fundamental, often difficult and lots of existing attitudes will need to change but the opportunity to really make Barbados what it can be needs to be sized. Fundamental to this is strong leadership with the mandate of the people. If however, we continue as we are things will progressively get worse in this country and everyone will suffer as a result. Progressive governments and a lack of chnage are not allowing Barbados to maximise it true potential.

  10. Alex Alleyne January 29, 2016 at 6:42 pm

    What about PARLIMENT ?????? that should bring a “pretty penny”.


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