Barbados economy on ‘dangerous’ path – BPSA
There’s a stern warning from newly appointed Chairman of the Barbados Private Sector Association (BPSA) Charles Herbert that the Barbados economy could face “dangerous consequences” if it continues on the current trajectory.
Herbert said notwithstanding the achievements made over the years, there was an urgent need for development and implementation of measures to put the island back on the right path.
Herbert made the observation as he took up the new post from businessman Alex McDonald at a handing over ceremony at the Hilton Barbados Resort this morning.
“The present economic indicators show dangerous consequences if Barbados continues on the current trajectory,” Herbert said.
While he did not give details, the new BPSA head pointed to falling foreign exchange reserves and the recent announcement by Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados Dr DeLisle Worrell that there was need for “tightening” of outflows. He also listed Government’s current expenditure and ability to borrow; unpaid Value Added Tax (VAT) refunds and Government’s debt as some of the issues that needed to be addressed urgently.
“Barbados’ ranking on the Ease of Doing Business index continues to decline and is evidenced by the fact that, to attract new investment, we need a Cabinet minister dedicated to business facilitation, incentives that erode our tax base and unwelcome intervention by Government in spaces normally serviced by private investment,” Herbert said.
He also said the absence of key performance indicators in important service areas meant that there were no measures to show whether the situation was improving or declining.
“We therefore ask the Prime Minister to reinstate regular meetings of the Social Partnership, and I pledge on behalf of the private sector that our goal at these meetings will be to improve the private sector’s contribution to the Social Partnership meetings; to always be clear on the role that the private sector is proposing to play in contributing to each item [and] that our tone will be that of collaboration and not confrontation,” Herbert added, seemingly reflecting the tone of his leadership.
The new BPSA chairman expressed disappointment that the private sector was yet to be given an insight into the upcoming Budget.
Herbert stressed that the role of the private sector was to remain relevant and advocate on behalf of members, while contributing to the functioning of the Social Partnership.
“In my role as chairman, I am joining my predecessors in calling for a Barbados which is unified and as focused on making Barbados more productive as it was in the 1990s when, as a country, we were facing challenging economic circumstances. There are grave consequences to us doing otherwise,” he warned.
Herbert, who is a principal at the financial services and consulting firm Eckler Limited, took over from McDonald, who served in the position for the past two years.
This morning’s function was attended by representatives of Government and trade union organizations.