New growth strategy by October

Government is proposing to establish a “comprehensive national fiscal, economic and social development restructuring and enhancement programme” by October this year, to guide decisions for a short, medium and long-term growth plan.

Delivering the 2017 Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals on Tuesday, Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler said the final touches were being put on the new programme, which he said was decided on following the recommendations from the two working groups set up by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart early last month.

With the country’s foreign reserves having plunged to $681.1 million, or 10.3 weeks of cover at the end of last year, the foreign exchange committee had recommended, among its list of proposals, a hike in cruise visitor head taxes and airport departure fees.

Another worrying issue for the Stuart administration is its fiscal deficit, which ended the last financial year at an estimated six per cent of GDP, higher than the projected 5.8 per cent. The fiscal deficit committee had therefore included in its deficit reduction proposals the sale the Barbados National Oil Company Limited and the National Petroleum Corporation.

However, Sinckler said while some of the proposals of the working groups could be implemented immediately to assist in addressing some of the economic challenges, the majority of them were of “a more medium term focus” and would definitely require “extensive” stakeholder and national consultation.

“To this end Sir . . . the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs is putting the final touches on a comprehensive National Fiscal, Economic and Social Development Restructuring and Enhancement Programme, which will be published in the coming weeks and serve along with all of the other proposals which Government has received as the centrepiece for the national discourse which must take place this summer to chart a short, medium and longer term agenda for growth and development of Barbados’ economy and society,” Sinckler announced.

He said the new programme, which is being crafted by the Planning Division within his ministry, would set out “a clear and concise national plan aimed at addressing several of the key areas of restructuring which this economy urgently requires”.

It will focus on a number of areas, including boosting the foreign exchange earnings “through creating more attractive conditions of foreign direct investment by the standardization of investment incentive regimes in an omnibus incentives legislation, and reforming the platform for implementing mechanisms across the public and private sectors,” Sinckler added.

He said attention would also be on reform of the country’s productive sector by focusing on reducing the cost of doing business in critical sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing and tourism, while finding appropriate mechanisms to capitalize on emerging sectors, including the cultural industries.

“There will also be concentration on instituting a Competitiveness Commission and Operational Unit to drive implementation of the work currently being undertaken by the tripartite Competitiveness Action Teams; implementation of the new national energy policy to accelerate the Government’s plan to make Barbados energy independent by 2035; fiscal consolidation through public financial management reform, including, the passage in Parliament of a new Financial Management and Audit Act to govern the financial affairs of Government statutory boards and enterprises; state-owned enterprises reform, including mergers, operational consolidation and divestment,” he said in outlining the broad parameters of the programme.

Attention will also be placed on completion of the tax policy reform and tax administration upgrade project, including the final transition of Customs into the Barbados Revenue Authority and the implementation of a single taxpayer IT system.

Additionally, emphasis will be placed on debt growth stabilization and reduction through fiscal reform and debt management enhancement, including debt profiling and social sector reform in critical areas such as health, education, sanitation, social care services and environmental protection.

“Our hope Sir, is that before fall this year, this Parliament and the country as a whole will have a comprehensive, well thought out and extensively consulted national plan which can be debated here and approved for immediate implementation by the Government,” Sinckler added.

9 Responses to New growth strategy by October

  1. jrsmith May 31, 2017 at 5:18 am

    Well , well , fools paradise, this is how they play our people election coming , these politicians are very, very evil people bajans continuously under pressure, year after year and now a new growth strategy coming……………………………………………

  2. BIGSKY May 31, 2017 at 5:55 am

    Lots of big words in the first paragraph, so I will break it down for the man on the road.It simply means,”We the DLP has failed.”

  3. Tony Webster May 31, 2017 at 6:06 am

    Adequate words….escape me. We are already full of “jam tomorrow”, so my best interpretation of this latest iteration , is that this new plan, will guarantee all Bajans of voting age will be guaranteed to win the Super Lotto…come October, and by the latest, two weeks after polling day. BTW…when does the next LIAT flight leave for heaven?

    I wuz born stupid; went to Stupid School….and came FIRST….wouldaj believe?

  4. Unbelievable May 31, 2017 at 6:32 am

    Wait a second…you mean they are going to NOW do what any government worth their salt does at the BEGINNING of their term? That is have a vision for the country! You mean (shocking to imagine!) that they never had a plan all along??? Gasp! We only guessed that from their failed policies. Puhleeeeze! Our “growth strategy” is to vote you out!

  5. Colin Daniel May 31, 2017 at 6:49 am

    Does this mean that we are having elections before October?

  6. Samantha Best May 31, 2017 at 6:57 am

    It appears as though the Budgetary Proposals are not yet complete. We have to await proposals from additional committees, that hopefully will be ready by “fall” i.e. October lol, this gives one the impression that some aspects of the Budget were not prepared by local technocrats. References to summer and fall are not normally a part of our vernacular. This is often used by tourism officials but not the Finance Minister.

    Well we await the balance of the budget. We are getting it in pieces.

  7. Romeo Crowell May 31, 2017 at 9:59 am

    I do believe we need to change this Government. They fail to come to the public and explain why they are taking a particular course not just drop it and walk away leaving the political piranhas to spin it.
    And what I find worse is with all the brains that suppose to be in Barbados they is a lack of public info moving around about how the issues can be resolve.
    Anyone can get up and say what is wrong but if you are truly patriotic submit publicly plans that can help the country

    I sick of the economist that can only say what is wrong but cannot say how it can be done better

  8. Ann Thomas May 31, 2017 at 12:17 pm

    I really hope that is code for saying that elections will be done and dusted and a new government (BLP) will be running the country!

  9. Tony Waterman May 31, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    @Ann Thomas!!! that is just another DISASTER waiting to happen, what we really want, is for Barbados and the ENTIRE Caribbean Basin, to get rid of the Westminister CONFRONTATIONAL Style of Government, it was NEVER intended to Help us then, and it is NOT helping us Now.

    we NEED to get rid of Political Parties from our Politics, and institute a DEMOCRATIC System of Government, BY, FOR and OF the People, Lets Start Electing Individuals, not Puppets who TOW a Party Line, that is why we are failing so Miserably. This is what this White Westminister style was ALWAYS intended to do. KEEP US DOWN. and 50 Years after INDEPENDENCE we are still aiding them in doing just That.


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