An alternative solution

Faced with an unsustainable fiscal deficit and $9.8 billion debt, the Government of Barbados could soon have an alternative solution to the current economic challenges.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Barbados this morning announced at a news conference at its Hastings, Christ Church offices, that it had established a special committee to formulate a new Medium Term Fiscal Strategy for submission to Government.

ICAB President David Simpson revealed that the alternative strategy was expected to be presented to the Freundel Stuart Administration in the next three months.

“We approved a committee to establish a Medium Term Strategy to share with Government. We believe there needs to be a new one,” Simpson added.

He pointed out that ICAB, with well over 700 members in the private and public sectors, would soon be employing its skills and expertise in coming up with a strategy, which it expects would help save Barbadosfrom possible bankruptcy.

He said that in the meantime, the executive would meet with the Ministry of Industry and later with the Ministry of Finance.

The institute’s leader noted, too, that the body would also have its pre-budget consultations with Government as well.

Simpson said he would also be meeting with the Leader of the Opposition on this matter.

Former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and current Head of ICAB’s Public Sector Committee, William Layne, told the news conference that the Government’s MTFS had failed.

“Any new strategy will involve some pain,” Layne cautioned.

His view was that politicians by their very nature were not proactive.

“We as a country want it all, but don’t want to pay for it,” suggested the chartered accountant.

Layne said no entity could continue operating while recording a deficit.

“Your capacity to do that is only to the extent that banks continue lending you money. You go bankrupt if you continued spending money and the banks don’t lend you money,” argued the former permanent secretary.

The senior retired public officer observed that the country’s deficit was 12.5 per cent of Gross Domestic Product, which he described as staggering. (EJ)

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