Still no clear plan from Sinckler, say analysts

Government is yet to provide a clear plan for bringing the Barbados economy out of its current rut.

This was the assessment of four respected analysts today after hearing Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler’s latest press conference on the state of the economy.

Speaking on local radio, retired economist Charlie Skeete warned that the current fiscal deficit, which Sinckler reported today to be in the order of eight per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), was unsustainable.

And he called on Government to address the matter as one of urgency, given its importance to regaining the confidence of international investors.

“A six per cent of GDP fiscal deficit is not adequate,” cautioned Skeete in response to suggestions from Sinckler that the Government was aiming to reduce that figure to 5.5 per cent of GDP by the end of March.

“And I need to hear what spending will be cut, over what period to get the fiscal deficit to about a maximum of about 4.5 per cent of GDP, not because 4.5 per cent is sustainable going forward. That is the level that would restore confidence in creditors and in foreign lenders that Barbados’ programme of fiscal consolidation is on track,” Skeete added.

He also warned that rating agencies, international development banks and commercial creditors would be keen to know if a country’s foreign reserves were still in decline since this could affect the country’s ability to repay any outstanding loans.

However, while acknowledging that Barbados’ fiscal deficit was still “too high” Sinckler today sought to reassure Barbadians that there was no “doomsday” scenario facing the island, as he warned his political opponents of the danger caused in constantly suggesting so.

The Minister of Finance also assured that the Barbados dollar was not in any danger of devaluation, even in the face of a“stubborn” fiscal deficit and dwindling foreign reserves.

And in response to recent concerns raised about the state of the island’s foreign reserves, which have fallen below the 12 weeks standard cover, Sinckler said it was not the first time that such had occurred, pointing out that in 1998 the reserves fell to 9.1 weeks and in 1999 to 9.9 weeks of imports.

However, economist Jeremy Stephen, who is the current president of the Barbados Economic Society (BEC), took issue with that suggestion from Sinckler, pointing out that the country was not in a debt crisis between 1998 and 1999.

He argued that the current dire economic situation demands that a clear plan be spelt out by Sinckler for taking the economy forward.

With the Minister of Finance who is currently preparing this year’s Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure already ruling out the possibility of major retrenchment and major tax increases, he further cautioned that more would have to be done to pull the economy back from the brink than merely alluding to rationalization, which Stephen said could mean a number of things, including the retrenchment of public servants.

Today, the Opposition Barbados Labour Party also reacted to Sinckler’s latest economic pronouncements.

In a statement, the party’s candidate for Christ Church East Central Ryan Straughn contended that “Barbadians must decide how much longer they will put up with this level of incompetence and indifference from the Government”.

Straughn, a former Central Bank economist and former president of the BEC, said Barbadians expected Sinckler to address the reasons why he fired Governor of the Central Bank Dr DeLisle Worrell last week, as well as to allay fears about the printing of money and its adverse consequences on Barbadian households and businesses.

“Clearly the Government and its spokesmen are not intent on dealing with the issues of concern that have been raised by business people, economists, academics, the media and ordinary people,” added Straughn, who did not hide his disappointment with Sinckler’s presentation.

Political scientist and pollster Peter Wickham was also not impressed. In fact, he said he had heard it all from Sinckler before.

“On every occasion when the economy is in serious trouble Sinckler tells Barbadians that everything will be in shape in a matter of weeks, in a matter of days or in a matter of months. I have gotten to the stage now where I have grown tired. We are now in a situation where we have the lowest level of import cover that we have had in about ten to fifteen years. This explains why I am not impressed with Sinckler because I do not believe that he is bringing anything new to the table,” Wickham said. 

16 Responses to Still no clear plan from Sinckler, say analysts

  1. Owen Williams February 28, 2017 at 2:59 am

    A minister of finance and economic affairs whose competence in the portfolio is woefully inadequate and whose intent is to front with political tomfoolery will always be a recipe for disaster.That is the way he came to the position. Sadly! His economic competence has decreased while the political tomfoolery has mushroomed. The gap between the two approaches will widen in the face of general elections.

    Reply
  2. Tony Webster February 28, 2017 at 5:12 am

    Stoopid-question of the day: How many times yuh need to get horned, before yuh gine realise dat de party is over? We have heard it all before. Confidence and trust, is not a glance, or a coy smile…or repeated promises. Confidence is the child borne of accomplishment…of performance…of a job completed and done well. “IT IS BY THEIR FRUITS YE SHALL KNOW DEM”.

    Truth be told…Hook, Lyne, and Slinker did face de country – and hard questions-like a man…unlike de guy who does normally warm dat seat…who was no-where to be seen…whilst “Championing Productivity” elsewhere!!

    Reply
  3. Angus Benn
    Angus Benn February 28, 2017 at 5:25 am

    The men trying different methods to see which one would work.

    Reply
  4. Ernesta Catlyn February 28, 2017 at 5:34 am

    No clear plan? The plan was quite clear to me. While we sit with our hands between our legs waiting for KyFFIN’S millions we will print money – we will increase the debt to the Central Bank. Oh my bad! that is not debt since it’s Domestic. Can you be ‘homeless’ in your own country?

    Reply
  5. Kim Smith
    Kim Smith February 28, 2017 at 5:44 am

    I see his plan ,it is to win the next the next election again cause he feel bajans foolish

    Reply
  6. Hal Austin February 28, 2017 at 5:48 am

    The main threat from the printing of money is inflationary. Too much liquidity drives up asset prices. This can be easily managed by a competent central bank.
    According to this classical theory, house prices, should be going up. They are not. The reality is that internal devaluation has driven down prices.
    Can someone please tell me what the US current account deficit is and what percentage of GDP that is? Can they also do the same for China and Japan? The three leading economies in the world.

    Reply
    • hcalndre February 28, 2017 at 7:41 am

      @Hal Austin: Can you say what the US. China and Japan account deficit and GDP has to do with this mini economy of barbados? Trump say he is injecting $54B into the military, while barbados can`t get 5 cents from nowhere. A couple of years ago it was Greece that barbados used as a yardstick for its failing economy, I have not heard Greece mention lately.

      Reply
  7. Danny Colombian Clarke
    Danny Colombian Clarke February 28, 2017 at 5:51 am

    One thing that’s clear. Barbados going down rapidly

    Reply
  8. Danny Colombian Clarke
    Danny Colombian Clarke February 28, 2017 at 6:10 am

    How you expect to get a clear plan from a finance minister that doesn’t have a clue about the job he’s in and continually refuses to head the advice of those more knowledgeable. Man just thinks up of something and says yes lets go for it . It might work or not . I’m not really sure

    Reply
  9. Waiting February 28, 2017 at 8:46 am

    Re-establishing an Advisory Council which they are not going to listen to is therefore a waste of time. Remember that the Prime Minister has said that they won the elections and therefore they were chosen to lead. Good thing elections is around the corner otherwise you would not hear a thing…bare slight of hands now.

    Reply
  10. Hal Austin February 28, 2017 at 9:53 am

    hcalndre

    This little island is in a world all on its own. You are subscribing to the economic nonsense that small open economies…….the nonsense that Worrell and others wrote about. As I have said here before, good management is good management, if you are managing the US economy or Spartan cricket club.
    I will give you an example, which many young people would not know about. In the old days, fathers went out to work and mothers remained at home; the fathers brought in a little money, but those mothers, adept at managing, would work out how much to spend on food and how much on the children.
    From midweek they will send the eldest child to the local grocery shop to ‘trust’ (take out credit) on a quarter pound of salt fish, two pints of rice, a bit of butter, half pint of lard oil, etc.
    That food got the family through to the next pay day, when the shop owner would be paid off.
    Then we got supermarkets: people go shopping for lot of food for which they must pay in cash. When they run out of money they cannot ‘trust’ (take out credit) from the supermarket; they must borrow from friends and family, or use their credit cards.
    Who do you think had a better handle on their funds?

    Reply
  11. Helicopter(8P) February 28, 2017 at 12:14 pm

    In today’s global village going back to economic activity practiced a decade ago can be quite misleading. The formula might work but not in the same context.

    Reply
  12. Alex Alleyne February 28, 2017 at 7:58 pm

    CHRIS, it’s time for “needle threading”. ASAP…..right now.

    Reply
  13. Carson C Cadogan February 28, 2017 at 8:13 pm

    All Barbados Labour Party card carrying members.

    What else do you expect from them???????

    Reply
  14. Mikey February 28, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    @Hal Austin AGAIN ,,,
    You are misinterpreting the Accounts Booklets your have skimmed through.
    Any Economist worth his/her salt would be careful to say “excess liquidity creates a risk of upward pressures on asset prices” and would go on further to say that “the impact on real estate, commodity and share prices are less in emerging economies.”
    STOP MIS-UNDERSTANDING WHAT YOUR READ, BECAUSE YOU CAN MISLEAD OTHERS.

    Please re-take your economics examination, please.

    Reply
  15. orlando February 28, 2017 at 10:53 pm

    all these socall analysts and economists and all that bigup crap knows everything thats bad and wrong . now why dont you tell us whats right and how to go about doing it.do you really think that mia got the answers . owen was suppose to be the best econmist. did he have the answer . A big fat NO. and you mr. frundel .mr invisible you should really give up leadership to someone who has a face .and a voice . DUMMY.

    Reply

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