‘Barbados paying the price for Govt’s sluggishness’

The latest downgrade of Barbados is yet another dark cloud over the local investment climate, leaving very little hope in the business community that the economy will emerge from the doldrums anytime soon, according to a top business executive.

President of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) Eddy Abed told Barbados TODAY the private sector was now extremely concerned about the situation facing the country and he feared that it would not improve anytime soon, given that the next general election is due within months.

International ratings agency S&P Global today lowered its long-term local credit rating on Barbados to CCC from CCC+, with a negative outlook.

The New York-headquartered institution said in a report the negative outlook reflected the potential for a downgrade over the next 12 months should Government fail to advance measures to significantly lower its fiscal deficit, strengthen its external liquidity, and reverse its falling reserves.

The report also pointed to the risks posed to the sustainability of the 2:1 peg to the US dollar.

“The negative outlook reflects the risk of a downgrade given difficulty turning around fiscal policy, with parliamentary elections in 2018, a possible domestic debt exchange that could be default under our criteria, and prospects for a balance of payment crisis,” S&P said.

In a swift reaction this evening, Abed said the private sector had long been warning Government of the need to stabilize the economy and find one of the “cheapest” sources of international funding to address its debt situation, which he said could come from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“Frankly, I don’t think there is much that we can do between now and election. So the outlook to me is extremely pessimistic. The concerns are just being amplified as to what we were told before . . . and the worst part of all this is that the outlook remains negative. “There is nothing positive about this rating that any of the citizens and businessmen in this country can say that we have something to look forward to,” Abed told Barbados TODAY.

“Government has been reluctant in approaching the IMF. Sadly, we are paying the price for it because our foreign reserves are extremely woeful and the prospects going forward don’t seem at all to be positive, so much so the ratings agency has said that the expectations are negative.”

Abed also expressed concern that unless Government deals with high debt, the low foreign reserves, the high deficit and the difficulty conducting business here, the island would continue to be downgraded.

Charging that there was “an extreme calm” in the investment climate in Barbados due a lack of urgency on the part of Government, the BCCI head said the situation was now “extremely concerning for businesses”, especially because no policies could be implemented between now and the election, due by the middle of next year.

He warned that it was simply “not business as usual” in Barbados.

“For all the good intention, for all the promises, there is very little that seems to be going on and I think most people are holding their breath and waiting to see. It is a question of confidence. It is a question of return on investments. People will not invest unless there is some sense that they will get a return, and this nasty question of devaluation has raised its head again by the current downgrade,” Abed said.

“So this further, in my mind, adds dark cloud over the investment climate. It is a reality. So I am absolutely concerned. I don’t think that we have done enough in lieu of the downgrades we have had in the past, in the warnings we have had in the past, in the mouthing of the private sector and the unions to let’s do what is necessary. The Government has been reluctant and extremely sluggish to adopt a lot of these new policies and I think we are paying the price of it,” he said.  

19 Responses to ‘Barbados paying the price for Govt’s sluggishness’

  1. Sheldine Dyall
    Sheldine Dyall September 28, 2017 at 12:07 am

    Hush, Hush.

    Reply
  2. John Everatt September 28, 2017 at 12:21 am

    This government has been warned by many economists throughout years that it was heading us in the wrong direction. But in the face of it all Sealy pronounced that the economy is now on the right track. This line has been repeated over and over again for a very long time and I am afraid that there are people in this country that continue to believe it in the face of the facts. I think that even the MOF actually now believes it as a lie repeated enough times gradually becomes the truth. There are many examples of this throughout history.

    Reply
  3. Buun September 28, 2017 at 1:52 am

    Not, not, not you dough! Go and tell it to the Devil.

    Reply
  4. Waiting September 28, 2017 at 7:08 am

    What is shocking is that they claim to be intelligent leaders and kept doing the same thing (taxing) over and over again expecting a different result. I understand that is the action of crazy people. Thank God the end is near. I really wonder how they feel when they sit around a table and see their stewardship, are all of them so dumb and blind? Look at what Barbados has come to.

    Reply
  5. Chris hill September 28, 2017 at 7:20 am

    It’s a little too late for complaining now. You sir have been in a position to lay heavy weight on the government for a long time now. Now international business is running scared and the future is bleak. Recommend the election bell.

    Reply
  6. Arthur Collymore
    Arthur Collymore September 28, 2017 at 8:35 am

    More like govt’s indifference. I’ve long held the view that DEM don’t care. Yet there are some who will join this conversation to denounce this man’s comments on account of the colour of his skin. No wonder why we’re in this position.

    Reply
  7. roger headley September 28, 2017 at 8:35 am

    Abed you have been playing hotch scotch.

    Reply
  8. Philippa Joseph
    Philippa Joseph September 28, 2017 at 8:44 am

    Oh shut up sir. Why didn’t you support any of the march. Why didn’t you help put pressure on the goverment please just shut up

    Reply
  9. Winnie Meade
    Winnie Meade September 28, 2017 at 9:00 am

    You now saying this you should be a shame i will not go in you shop again you should tell the goverment that from day one and you should let your worker go on the march i hope your shope close down

    Reply
    • Joy Waldron
      Joy Waldron September 28, 2017 at 9:55 am

      Agree I just don’t get this man he can’t make up he mind what he want do… today it’s one thing tomorrow it’s another

      Reply
  10. Juliet Marshall
    Juliet Marshall September 28, 2017 at 9:06 am

    I missing something here though, what was achieved from the March? Did it get the government to resign or for taxes to be exempted?

    Reply
  11. archy perch September 28, 2017 at 10:19 am

    Well if the private sector would pay the government the 900 million in vat money owed, then the country’s economy would be in good shape. Ok Mr. Abed?

    Reply
  12. Helicopter(8P) September 28, 2017 at 10:47 am

    The rest of the world reads of percentages of labour cost increases our unions request on demand. That also has a negative effect in business growth can’t you see people!

    Reply
  13. archy perch September 28, 2017 at 11:39 am

    Why the hell don’t you Mr. Abed and your colleagues pay the government the 900 million dollars in VAT money which all of you owe. PARASITES!

    Reply
  14. Carson C Cadogan September 28, 2017 at 11:47 am

    Only a day ago the Trinidad Govt. said that it would not be going to the IMF. So why should we?

    Thanks for your advice Eddie, but no thanks.

    Reply
    • Gearbox1964 September 28, 2017 at 12:31 pm

      So we are suppose to mimic Trinidad, or decide for ourselves what is best for us? Carson…we all know that you are a DLP yardfowl. Go stick your head up Freundel’s backside!!

      Reply
  15. Belfast September 28, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    Our goodly Captain Francesco Schettino (FS),and his crew and feathered guests, intend to take our ship down with them.

    Reply
  16. Donild Trimp September 30, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    Eddy Abed, only last month I asked you and your members to pay the millions and millions of dollars you all owe to the treasury of Barbados.

    Good and honest citizens pay the Gov’t what they owe, especially good and honest business people.

    Please call in on any one of the radio shows and let us know why you all are not good citizens.

    Please tell us why you blatantly refuse to pay the Barbados Treasury the taxes you all owe..

    Reply

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