Arthur accuses Sinckler of making a mess

Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler is now totally out of his depth in terms of his leadership of the economy.

This was the strong suggestion made today by one his predecessors – former Prime Minister Owen Arthur  – who accused Sinckler of “bungling” his own recent Budget announcements and of creating a mass of economic confusion and uncertainty in the country.

Arthur was responding to reports that Sinckler, on the heels of his May 30 Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals, was now promising to undertake a review of the $542 million austerity package he announced in Parliament a mere three weeks ago.

This is with a view to offering relief, where possible, to members of the private sector who are bitterly opposed to his plan to massive increase in the National Social Responsibility Levy from two per cent to ten per cent, as well as to impose a two per cent levy on foreign exchange transactions.

While warning that the tax on foreign exchange rate transactions may eventually be deemed a non-starter, Arthur complained that with the July 1 implementation date for the new levies fast approaching, there was still way too much uncertainty surrounding the announced fiscal measures.

“We are in danger of having our economic policies characterized by an absence of clarity of purpose and certainty of incidence,” he warned, while pointing out that it was not only the measures, but also the process by which they were to be implemented that was now the subject of great confusion.

“What is also important is that this process of consultation is now taking place after the policies have been conceived, announced and are intended to be implemented. And consultation after the fact could hardly be regarded as the way in which you conceive of economic policy and seek to implement economic policy,” he added.

In criticizing Sinckler’s handling of the entire Budget process and his handling of economy as a whole, Arthur noted that Prime Minister Freundel Stuart had recently commissioned a tripartite committee, led by the head of the Private Sector Association Charles Herbert, to develop policies, which were submitted by way of a report to Government.

However, Arthur said those policies seemed not to have entered into the consideration of the Minister of Finance in any significant way in the conception of his budgetary measures.

“So that you have a situation which is now beginning to border on a farce,” he told Barbados TODAY.

“The report of the private sector and the Social Partnership has not been acted upon, policies have been conceived and announced that are to become in vogue and now we have a different and new process of consultation after the fact, and all it [will] do is to generate that complete aura of uncertainty, which is the only thing that you don’t want to have at a time of great economic peril,” he said.

Arthur, whose tenure as prime minister and minister of finance between 1994 and 2008 was marked by economic prosperity, stressed that with the economy currently on its knees, now more than ever “we need to see the restoration of confidence in the management of our economic affairs through the restoration of competence”.

However, he lamented that this was “completely at variance with the current level of bungling being exhibited by Sinckler and the Stuart-led administration as a whole.

“I wish the Government well, I wish the minister well, but I don’t know why we are now in this position of having these efforts to change that which was so recently put into effect,” the former Barbados Labour Party leader said, while emphasizing he was never faced with any such eventuality in his 14 years as minister of finance.

He also warned that the authority by which the minister introduced measures under the provisions of the Collection of Taxes Act in the House of Assembly on May 30 was not to be tinkered with, and that Government’s announced tax on foreign exchange rate transactions may be seen by the International Monetary Fund as a restriction on exchange transactions and may have to be removed.

‘The whole thing is adding to uncertainty and the sooner the matter is brought to a happy resolution, the better,” he said.

16 Responses to Arthur accuses Sinckler of making a mess

  1. Ali Baba
    Ali Baba June 21, 2017 at 10:56 pm


    • harry turnover June 22, 2017 at 6:29 am

      What goes around comes around what !…the man is telling the TRUTH. For over 8 years Sinckler has been messing with the economy and EVERYTHING is there to be seen…SOME of his colleagues HAVE SAID SO,while the others KNOW SO but remaining tight lipped…..
      …and with or without his help,all a DEM would still be kicked out come next year…this is wunna LAST MAS…ENJOY IT

  2. Santini More
    Santini More June 21, 2017 at 11:13 pm

    Sinckler has been out of his depth since his first day as MoF, and after 8 years in the job is now languishing at 60 leagues under the sea!

  3. Fred Blackz
    Fred Blackz June 21, 2017 at 11:15 pm

    Lol de pot calling de kettle black

    • harry turnover June 22, 2017 at 6:36 am

      You know the meaning of that term ? or you hear people using it and want to use it too ?
      People like you kicked out Arthur in 2008.Since then the DLP has created a mess in this Country and the stats are there for EVERY MAN JACK the IMF and the rating Agencies to see and wunna blaming the BLP for wunna MESS.
      Look..the policies and the good work that wunna inherited IS THE REASON BARBADOS IS AFLOAT TODAY and not from what wunna do…CAUSE WUNNA EN DO NUTTEN !!

  4. Ossie Moore June 22, 2017 at 12:59 am

    Bajan fari

  5. Samantha Best June 22, 2017 at 5:47 am

    Totally agree with you Mr. Arthur. That is what happens when one takes advice from persons who do not know and pretend they know. This review at this stage will certainly cause anarchy. Where are the Minister’s PS’s and DFE in all of this?

    In addition legislation to enact the changes will not be ready by July 1st will definitely not be ready.

  6. Carson C Cadogan June 22, 2017 at 7:10 am

    Is this the same OWEN ARTHUR who predicted that the Barbados economy would collapse by the end of MAY 2017?

    Now he is back with more Gobbledygook?

  7. joan Worrell June 22, 2017 at 9:05 am

    Not a fellow wants to speak the truth about where we are and how we got here. Politicians and economists are liars all over the world . Barbadian Journalists don’t do research so the publish as Gospel, whatever economists say, without doing fact checks. The newspapers in the U.K and North America contradict economists when they try to pull the wool of people’s eyes. Not so in Barbados. When ”X”, the PhD, says so, it is so.

    The real hard fact is that we have an oversized public service, created by Government after Government for the past 40 years. Paying public workers and providing welfare services have become burdensome on the economy since the recession hit in 2008. This has resulted in Barbados Government having to print money monthly. What is the alternative? We are getting all sorts of advice on how to recover from the downturn but when examined closely, Government workers will have to go home at the end of the day. The IMF doesn’t like Barbados that much to give them preferential treatment i.e loans without cutting back on the size of the public service. What is so special about Barbados that makes them different from Greece and would lead the IMF to soften conditions of loan repayment?

    The following is an extract from the Quartz Publication explaining the mess that countries around the world have found themselves with Government debt. I will post in two parts.

    Part 1.The below extract was taken from Quartz Publication. I will give you in two parts.

    Central banks around the world are now spending $200 billion a month on emergency economic stimulus measures, pumping this money into their economies by buying bonds. The current pace of purchases is higher than ever before, even during the depths of the financial crisis in 2009.And yet, despite the extraordinary support of so-called quantitative easing (QE), the global economy is not in great shape. What was supposed to bolster economies temporarily during times of crisis has become a routine tool for policymakers, who long ago cut interest rates to zero (or below) but haven’t seen the pick-up in activity they would have hoped.
    Alberto Gallo, a fund manager at Algebris Investments, says we are in a state of “QE infinity” with persistently low growth, low interest rates, and central bank policies that don’t fix things.
    “They won’t ever say they’re out of ammunition, but central bankers are starting to look like naked emperors,” Gallo wrote in an article for the World Economic Forum.The criticism central banks face for enacting these policies—that many argue increases inequality—is getting more heated. Meanwhile, governments are accused of not doing their part, leaving central bankers do all the heavy lifting.

    End of part 1.

  8. Milli Watt June 22, 2017 at 9:37 am

    there ain’t enough space to discuss these politically spent nuffinerians ………..stupse I admit though this Minister ought to make the decision and stick to it. you want free market this is free market it.

  9. joan Worrell June 22, 2017 at 11:53 am

    Mr. Editor

    Here is an article which I hope that Barbadians would be allowed to read. I will post it in two parts so that it wouldn’t be blocked because it is too long. It looks a lot like what is happening in Barbados but it is about the might United Kingdom economy. I wish to see the day when Barbadian economists and journalists do similarly.

    Part 1
    Workers in Britain are on course to suffer an unprecedented 15 years of lost earnings growth and have been warned to prepare for a third successive parliament of austerity by a leading thinktank.

    Analysing Philip Hammond’s spring budget, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said that after suffering a lost decade of earnings growth, households were now about to be hit by big welfare cuts.

    Paul Johnson, the thinktank’s director, highlighted permanent scars to the UK economy from the global financial crisis and said that almost a decade on the prospects for income and earnings growth remained weak.

    “On current forecasts average earnings will be no higher in 2022 than they were in 2007. Fifteen years without a pay rise. I’m rather lost for superlatives. This is completely unprecedented,” he said at the IFS’s traditional post-budget day briefing.

    Johnson said the latest economic outlook from the government’s independent forecaster, the Office for Budget Responsibility, implied that in the wake of the financial crisis the UK had suffered permanent losses to productivity – a measure of output per hour.

    “All of the productivity – and with it earnings growth – we would normally expect has been lost forever. This remains the big story of the last decade – a decade without growth, a decade without precedent in the UK in modern times,” he said.

    The IFS noted the OBR’s forecasts for the public finances left the UK on course to borrow £20bn in 2020, which is £30bn more than intended a year ago.

    “That leaves a lot of work to do in the next parliament to get to the planned budget balance. It looks like being, I’m afraid, a third parliament of austerity,” said Johnson.

    Similarly, he underscored welfare cuts announced under Hammond’s predecessor George Osborne that start to come into force next month. “These will have much bigger effects on people’s incomes than anything announced [on Wednesday].”

    The IFS had a relatively positive appraisal of the controversial changes made by Hammond to taxes paid by the self-employed.

    Johnson said increases in national insurance contributions (NICs) for the self-employed represented a “modest but welcome change” designed to create a slightly less unequal playing field between the self-employed and employees.”

    The IFS warning on incomes follows the claim earlier on Thursday by the Resolution Foundation that the UK is in the midst of the worst decade for pay growth since the Napoleonic wars of 1803–1815.

  10. joan Worrell June 22, 2017 at 11:54 am

    Part 2
    In a grim assessment of the new budget forecasts, the thinktank said families would miss out on £12,000 of pay growth by 2020, the worst decade for 210 years.

    Workers will be hit with falling real pay, where inflation exceeds wage growth, in the coming months, Resolution said. Real average earnings are only expected to return to their pre-crisis peak by the end of 2022.
    Torsten Bell, the director of the Resolution Foundation, said: “The big picture from [Wednesday’s] budget is that the big squeezes on both the public and family finances have been prolonged well into the 2020s.

    “While the Office for Budget Responsibility at least delivered some good news on borrowing, the family finances picture has actually deteriorated since the autumn statement. Britain is set for a return to falling real pay later this year, with this decade now set to be the worst for pay growth since the Napoleonic wars.

    Bell said that some households would feel the pinch more than others. “The combination of weak pay growth and over £12bn of benefit cuts means that for the poorest third of households this parliament is actually set to be worse than the years following the financial crisis.”

    Resolution calculates that a single person working full time on the minimum wage – earning £13,150 – will be £380 worse off by 2020. A dual-earning couple with two children and combined earnings of £29,020 will be £360 a year worse off by 2020.

    Anita Charlesworth, director of economics at The Health Foundation, said the chancellor had rebuffed calls for more health spending, but resources in the NHS were thin.

    “The next parliament will need to find an extra 1% of GDP in austerity measures and 1% extra for the NHS. I don’t know how we do that within the existing tax base,” she said.

    The amount of tax Britons pay as a percentage of GDP is due to hit a 30-year high in 2019 of 37.5%.
    Tony Travers, a local government expert at the London School of Economics, said councils were shouldering the burden of austerity and would soon be confined to providing only statutory services such as adult and children’s social care.

    “There is a straight line of falls in discretionary spending that ends in the next parliament at zero, leaving no money for anything other than the legal minimum,” he said.

  11. Concerned Man June 22, 2017 at 2:50 pm

    37.5%…….. We are definitely on track to reach that figure here, if not greater… Without the opportunities that exist for employment in the UK…. And with a Government whose GO TO source of revenue is taxation…. or the selling of State Run enterprises ….of which there are precious few little left of any attractive value to a potential investor… Unless of course there is a “fire Sale”…

  12. Saga Boy June 22, 2017 at 6:16 pm

    Joan you are on the right track. Bajans seem to think that Barbados is isolated from the rest of the world and that the BLP will provide us with some economist who will save us. If it was that easy do you think Europe and Africa and some parts of Asia who be in trouble. If it was so difficult would Australia be slowing down after 26 straight years of growth? Would there be poverty? Successive government have been employing more people that they ought to have and so it s finally caught us with us. We can reduce our financial problems in the public service if we lay off thousands of dollars. But what would be the consequences? How do we earn our way in the world? Which are the sectors that earn us money especially foreign currencies which we pass on to those paracites in the retail and other sectors which earn us little or no foreign currency? And the consumers like most if not all f you who create the demand for foreign goods and services.

  13. joan Worrell June 22, 2017 at 9:54 pm

    @ Sagaboy
    Bajans prefer to use the Internet to watch movies and sports instead of spending an hour on mornings reading international online newspapers, so that they can fact-check for themselves.. Barbadian journalists and economists keep them in ignorance by focussing on local and regional news. Would you believe that last month China had its first Moody’s Downgrade since 1989 on Debt Risk but went unnoticed in the local press. That should have been front page headline news with local economists commenting on how it will affect local trade with China and other relations which we have with the country.

  14. Yogi Ni June 23, 2017 at 11:09 am

    Very seldom have I agreed with Mr. Arthur, but he is so right. I’m sure Gear Box or King Dyal would do a much better job than the current MOF. May God have mercy on all of us. Sandi asked the question ” how did we get back here”. No one seems to have an answer.


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