‘Barbados still attractive to foreign investors’

Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler says Government is working assiduously to deal with the island’s economic challenges.

During a recent courtesy call by the visiting former Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland Patrick Honohan, Sinckler also assured that foreign investors were still interested in Barbados.

Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler (right) with former Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland Patrick Honohan (left).

His comments came ahead of tomorrow’s meeting of the Social Partnership sub-committee – comprising representatives of Government, employers and labour – at which two key economic reports prepared by two separate committees on fiscal deficit and the foreign reserves, as mandated by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, are to be considered.

All indications are that the Barbados economy is seriously in the red, with tough decisions now needed to pull it back from the brink, with the Central Bank indicating in its the latest Financial Stability Report released earlier this month that while there were signs of recovery with growth of about 1.6 per cent last year and a slight fall in unemployment, the fiscal deficit was simply still too high and remained a source of concern.

The report also raised concern that Barbados’ debt was further downgraded by international ratings agencies during the year, causing a reduction in the financial institutions’ appetite for domestic Government debt.

“At the same time reserve levels fell [below $700 million] to around the equivalent of ten weeks of imports of goods and services,” it added.

In light of that report, Sinckler told Honohan that officials here had paid close attention during Ireland’s financial crisis a few years ago and had noted that such challenges were not easily resolved.

Honohan, who is also an honorary professor of economics at Trinity College in Dublin, and a non-senior fellow of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, shared Ireland’s experience with Sinckler, including going to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He stressed that any country engaging the IMF should develop its own plan to take to the institution, and insisted that it should have national buy-in.

However, the Freundel Stuart administration has suggested there is no need for the island to turn to the international lending institution for assistance in addressing the island’s current fiscal challenges at this time.

Speaking during the recent Estimates debate, Stuart rejected the advice of former Prime Minister Owen Arthur that Barbados’ move to the IMF was inevitable, as Government continues to grapple with a $3.3 billion debt.

“I have heard all of the talk in Barbados, I heard the member for St Peter [Arthur] say yesterday that we should go into an IMF programme and so on. I want to make it very clear, I spoke to the Chamber of Commerce in January, and I said there will be no panicky resort to the IMF by the present Government of Barbados.

“If the stage is ever reached where it has to happen, as with the case of [then Prime Minister] Tom Adams, as with the case of [then Prime Minister Erskine] Sandiford, this Prime Minister will have the courage to look the country in the face and say, ‘look, here is what the facts are, here is what I think we have to do for the good of this country’. But that is not an agenda item of this Government at this stage,” the Prime Minister had said.

6 Responses to ‘Barbados still attractive to foreign investors’

  1. Jennifer March 31, 2017 at 4:33 am

    “All indications are that the Barbados economy is seriously in the red” THE i’s HAVE IT. Well said.

    Reply
  2. Hermine Alleyne March 31, 2017 at 7:25 am

    There is none so blind that he will not see, captain this ship is dead in the water.

    Reply
  3. Sherry-ann Mayers
    Sherry-ann Mayers March 31, 2017 at 7:25 am

    My personal opinion is this man came here and told the bajan public what we already know but did he say how we got here in the first place and if any of the actions that got us here can be reversed ,and if by any way was it our MOF fault for the downgrades and what areas in our sector can show mismanagement of money,can all the money collected in taxes are accounted for ,I know for sure there are Barbadians who have solutions to fix this economy because we live here and we know what we need to survive. Was this man paid to come here and tell us what we already know and if so how much ?

    Reply
  4. Ann Thomas March 31, 2017 at 3:40 pm

    Talk about burying your head in the sand.

    Reply
  5. James Franks March 31, 2017 at 4:14 pm

    Captain, the ship is sinking, Captain, the seas are rough, please IMF come to our rescue before things get to tough!!

    Reply
  6. Andrew Simpson April 1, 2017 at 5:44 pm

    Methinks we spend too much time and money playing politics and are consequently missing the boat on together resolving issues affecting the economy.
    Could those with a sincere desire to serve our countrymen please TEAM up to help design a new platform from which our affairs may be managed in a more businesslike manner, without all the the pretense and promises. Responsible leaders, letting the public know that forex will be unavailable for many consumer items and to start putting more food that can be produced locally on the menu, that wishful expectations may be dashed due to a host of public sector positions becoming uncertain and that hardship will ensue, would be a starting point.
    Plan your trips, start carpooling, clean up your own surroundings, conserve energy and regenerate some waste; including water.
    Batten down the hatches before the waves wash over the bow. Apologies for preaching gloom but facing the approaching storm, head on could prevent otherwise pending doom. Regardless of windfalls expected, deficits must be closed and the first cost we should all agree to cut is that of our traditional government structure. With modern technology, we can have more effective and efficient decision making, instituted directly by citizens, without the BMW and Mercedes, expensive air-conditioned offices and travel allowances allotted to geographical constituency parliamentary representatives. We must innovate and create a new direct digital participatory democracy model.

    Reply

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