ICAB calls for more Government oversight

Following recent meetings with Government on the proposed Barbados Sustainable Recovery Plan 2017, one private sector official is calling for the urgent establishment of an oversight monitoring committee.

Executive Director of the Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAB) Reginald Farley said this was critical to ensuring that the draft plan, which was recently sent to Cabinet and is due to go before Parliament shortly for approval, could be properly implemented.

With the Central Bank reporting this week that the economy remains worryingly in deficit, amid a mounting debt of 144 per cent of gross domestic product and a deteriorating foreign reserves position, which plummeted further below the 12 weeks benchmark to reach just 8.6 weeks of import or $549.7 million at the end of September, putting more pressure on the stability of the Barbados dollar, Farley said he was ‘anxiously awaiting the unveiling of the sustainable economic recovery plan to see the extent to which it is specific, measurable [and] action oriented, with time targets and key performance indicators.

“We have a lot of other general plans, and they are good plans, but at the end of the day, given the stage we are at, whether it be in the foreign exchange market, with our debt, with a fiscal deficit [estimated at $279 million for the last six months], the plan that is rolled out needs to be able to say, quarter by quarter, where we should be,” the ICAB spokesman said.

The plan, which was first announced by Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler in his May 30 Budget presentation, focuses on fiscal reform, growth and sustainability and social responsibility.

Following a meeting of the full Social Partnership in August, three working groups were established made up of Government, trade union and private sector officials to develop the draft, which Sinckler is expected to discuss with a team from the Washington-based International Monetary Fund, which is due here next week to carry out its Article IV consultation.

While stressing that the plan must outline the actions needed to achieve the set economic targets, Farley said provision must also be made for a remodeling mechanism, so that “if we don’t get there, we can make adjustments.

“In that regard, I hope that one of the recommendations which has been advanced will be accepted, and that is to have a tripartite monitoring committee or unit, which, when the technicians and Government have agreed on their programme, it is announced to all stakeholders, that we could have a body that monitors to ensure on behalf of the wider public, that we have continuous reporting on whether or not we are actually achieving the targets,” he said.

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