It’s slightly worse than we expected, says Herbert

With a general election approaching and the island’s foreign reserves situation deteriorating further, fear is mounting within the private sector that the country will not be able to achieve an economic turnaround.

Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados Cleviston Haynes confirmed today that the island’s international foreign reserves fell to $410 million or just 6.6 week of import cover at the end of December last year.

However, he said Government was able to rake in slightly more revenue and to lower its fiscal deficit to around 3.7 per cent while growing the economy by an estimated one per cent in 2017.

Reacting to the Governor’s assessment, Chairman of the Barbados Private Sector Association (BPSA) Charles Herbert said it came as “no real surprise” since it was “broadly inline with our expectations and fears”.

“The fiscal deficit report issued by a subcommittee of the Social Partnership in March 2017 warned that the country’s foreign reserves would create the first financial crisis and would fall to $430 million by the end of 2017, and be depleted entirely at the end of 2019.

“The actual position at the end of 2017 was slightly worse at $410 million,” said Herbert.

He also pointed out that following the May 2017 Budget the BPSA had expressed concern that the measures announced would not close the island’s deficit as projected “as the economy would slow and while the new tax measures would increase Government revenue, other sources of revenue would decline and reduce the impact.

“We labelled it ‘pain with no gain’.  The Governor of the Central Bank has essentially confirmed this position,” he added.

While acknowledging that tourism improvements were expected, as well as stability in other traded sectors, Herbert insisted that “the principal problem” facing the country was “not a deterioration in economic activity, but one created by public finances”.

Despite a dramatic decline over the last nine months, Government still remains reliant on Central Bank funding, with the Governor today highlighting the need for Government to make a greater effort to stem its expenditure and improve its tax collection systems.

“Further consolidation, particularly through structural expenditure reforms and improved tax administration, is now required. Effective implementation of these measures would help to prevent further accumulation of arrears which will aid in restoring confidence and facilitating private sector activity,” Haynes said.

Herbert said he supported that statement, adding that development in those areas should be underpinned by speedy implementation of investment projects.

He also emphasized the importance of service delivery “as part of the enhanced productivity thrust”.

“In this regard, efforts to improve business facilitation as outlined in the recently drafted Barbados Sustainable Recovery Plan should provide a framework for strengthening growth prospects,” the BPSA head said.

“Additionally the BPSA strongly recommends that the Government enter into negotiations with a suitable multi-lateral for a loan facility that will provide security to foreign reserves and may give a short term reduction in interest payments.

“Guidance on these negotiations will be evident from the recently finalized IMF Article IV consultation which we hope that the Government will release to the public to inform us of the policy initiatives that they recommended.  However, we acknowledge that the imminent elections may prevent immediate negotiations,” he added.

33 Responses to It’s slightly worse than we expected, says Herbert

  1. luther thorne February 1, 2018 at 1:36 am

    The people of Barbados made a monumental mistake in 2008 when they stupidly voted for the DLP.

    again
    1991 – 94 !!!!!

    How did we get back here ?

    THE DLP IS TO BLAME (de people too)

    SO CALL DE FRIGGIN ELECTION

    Reply
  2. Pat Clarke February 1, 2018 at 1:49 am

    Why would the BPSA strongly recommend that the Government enter into negotiations with a suitable multi-lateral for a loan facility. After 10 years of watching the foreign reserves dwindling with out a clue of how to stop it, it is time for the election. This Government does not care about the country that is why they are holding out until the bitter end. Mia will do now what Owen did before.

    Reply
  3. Carson C. Cadogan February 1, 2018 at 4:45 am

    If the private sector would do more to earn foreign exchange by boosting local exports then they would have more foreign exchange to draw on.

    But Barbados being a buy and sell economy that is why we are where we are. The private sector needs to be export oriented instead of moaning all the time.

    The $billion which the private sector has stashed away in the Banks they need to draw down on that and stop holding onto the Govt. like basket cases.

    Reply
    • Seeking Knowledge February 1, 2018 at 7:47 am

      Out of interest, what, in your opinion, should the private sector be exporting and to who? I’m just curious to learn more about what we can do.

      Also, it seems that everyone but the government knows about 1B in hidden funds and an additional 900M owed in VAT. Are the particular culprits that we’re all aware of? Can we get legal evidence for gov’t to force the private sector’s hands?

      Reply
  4. Tony Webster February 1, 2018 at 6:15 am

    @ my dear, unbiased, economic guru…Carson C. Cadogan: it must be divine providence, or just God having a little naughty chuckle, that you- of all folks- stumble upon the phrase “basket cases”. LOL. Why don’t YOU…just go and “boost exports”? What, exactly, is stopping you? Just get out of your basket…and soar thru the sky like a shooting star that you are…

    BTW…I’d like to thank Mr. Charles Herbert, for his forthright, factual, and sound commentary. GEL remains our sole locally headquartered conglomerate, which is a shining example of how to build a strong, geographically diversified, commercial success-story: a huge, inspirational example of how to succeed against the odds. Kudos Sir!

    Put THAT in your basket, Carson.

    Reply
  5. Harry February 1, 2018 at 6:33 am

    well said Tony but sadly your words fell on barren ground where Carson is concerned.

    Reply
  6. Freeagent February 1, 2018 at 7:36 am

    If the private sector would take their money out of hibernation and invest it or allow proposed government projects to proceed, then the economy would not be in its present position. Stop the long talk and let your conscience be your guide.

    Reply
  7. Ainsley February 1, 2018 at 8:19 am

    Herbert for PM

    Reply
  8. Saga Boy February 1, 2018 at 8:48 am

    Tony Webster. Your slip is showing. Carson makes a valid point and your response is to ask him why he does not do that which he recommends? The validity and accuracy of his statement is not deminished because he might not be in a position to do it himself. On the other hand you praise the Goddard Group which is perhaps the most aggressive, forward and progressive private sector entity on island. What perhaps is stopping people like Carson C is the same thing that is stopping black businesses from doing the same thing the Goddards Group is doing. And that my friend has to do with access to capital. The same Goddard you praise is racist. After Joe Goddard retired why was Ian Alleyne or one of the more senior black managers not appointed CEO? I put it to you that the group is not prepared to have a black man be in charge.

    Reply
  9. Carson C. Cadogan February 1, 2018 at 9:36 am

    Oh dear me!!!!

    A parade of the usual suspects. CHARLES HERBERT, JEREMY STEPHENS, MIA AMOR MOTTLEY.

    All predicting that the sky is falling. The regular DOOM AND GLOOM scenarios from this Mottley crew.

    We are all being made to believe that the meal that we eat today will be our last. This is an agenda of these useless people since 2008. Their predictions that we are about to fall off the cliff has not materialise since they first broached it back in 2008. But they are not giving up.

    No siree bob.

    As far they are concerned Barbados is the worst place on Earth.

    On another note:

    I thought that CHARLES HERBERT would have taken the opportunity to tell Barbados what the Goddards owned Tropical Laundries is doing to prevent it from killing the children and Teachers of Wesley Hall School with its toxic emissions.

    And Barbados Today didnt bother to ask him either.

    Reply
  10. Walmark John F February 1, 2018 at 11:28 am

    I can tell you that as a retired business person that’s seen B’dos economy fall for the past 20 years,,,,, if I had money to invest ,,, it sure won’t be in B’dos ……

    Reply
    • Carson C. Cadogan February 1, 2018 at 11:32 am

      Well if that is so , then dont complain.

      If you all prefer to keep your money under your beds. Then live with the current situation. The private sector is the one shooting itself in the foot.

      Reply
  11. Carson C. Cadogan February 1, 2018 at 11:40 am

    The Jamaican economy grew by 0.5% . The Jamaicans are over the moon. Barbados economy grew by 1.00% but it is a problem for the Barbados Labour Party and its supporters. All things considered the Barbados economy is in great shape.

    There are challenges to overcome, but in the fullness of time these will be overcome.

    Reply
    • harry turnover February 1, 2018 at 1:32 pm

      Wha ??? ..C C C like the sewage on the South Coast has made its way NORTH.
      “All things considered the Barbados economy is in great shape” ?????.
      Tell me more Mr.Minister.Then the Civil Servants should get the 23 % increase .Wonder if you had clearance from the PM to say so or are you going to remain quiet when he says that you can say what you wan ?
      If NONE of the POLICIES…home grown or externally ARE NOT WORKING according to one Esther Byer-Suckoo are you saying otherwise ?

      Reply
  12. archy perch February 1, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    I have seen all this flare-up before. It happened before the February 21st, 2013 general elections. The crooked Barbados Labour Party had all the red bed sheets from Abeds all over Barbados. The media was drowning with their ads, both electronic and print. DLP banners and billboards were swithly removed from their posts. What happened. THE CROOKED BARBADOS LABOUR PARTY……..LOST.

    Reply
  13. Alex Alleyne February 1, 2018 at 12:29 pm

    The Banks cashing in on your funds , they are charging $5.00 per month for maintenance feed. ……Robbery without a gun.

    Reply
  14. Alex Alleyne February 1, 2018 at 12:37 pm

    FEES.

    Reply
  15. Darson February 1, 2018 at 12:42 pm

    Carson I predicted this Drop as close to Elections as possible a long time ago .
    The private sector that support The party of choice have to Fork out some of that money very soon to help win the election.some of the money will return from the safety deposit boxes and some from overseas accounts .
    But i feel very strongly they are not the only Drain on the reserves ,
    The CSME agreement that allow so many Caribbean Nationals to come and receive duty free goods for as long as they are here and split the profits with locals , the bottom line is how much the are taking out and this is without a work permit or a paid visitor extension . this need to be addressed Now,
    If we Gave Duty Free allowance to Bajans Based on domestic needs this would help and the money would stay here.

    Reply
    • Carson C. Cadogan February 1, 2018 at 2:09 pm

      A Lady told as recently as last Wed. that she was shopping for a pair of shoes at Sheraton mall.

      Up come this Vincy asking her if she wanted to get them duty free as she would buy them for her duty free. All she had to do was to giver her(Vincy) a fee for herself.

      I know that this sort of thing used to happen in town but the police ran the scam artists, so it would seem now like they have moved to Sheraton Center.

      Reply
  16. Darson February 1, 2018 at 12:43 pm

    I Agree with you 100% Carson .

    Reply
  17. luther thorne February 1, 2018 at 1:56 pm

    ELECTIONS NEED TO BE CALLED.
    I would almost say that it is a criminal Act to not call Elections

    This is Ridiculous
    DLP DESTRUCTIVE POLICIES
    need to STOP NOW.
    Going on for too long from 1971 to 2018

    Reply
    • Carson C. Cadogan February 1, 2018 at 2:13 pm

      Luther

      How is your hunger strike coming along???

      Are you near death as yet???

      Reply
  18. sticks and stones February 1, 2018 at 1:59 pm

    Still waiting to hear from the leadership of the blp Mia what are her plans for the betterment of the economy

    Reply
  19. lester February 1, 2018 at 3:49 pm

    holding elections change of government would not solve this issue, question who is responsible for deleting our foreign reserves ? is it true we have a wage problem meaning in the govt ? if our dollar devalues would the BLP supporters be exempted from the suffering? so stop the political grand standing for if barbados sinks we ALL going down with it, i am praying for level heads to prevail on both sides and join hand in hand and PULL BARBADOS UP OUT OF THIS DITCH

    Reply
  20. Saga Boy February 1, 2018 at 4:11 pm

    Lester I agree with you. We need to work together. This foolishness of sabotaging the economy like how a run on Cliclo’s finances was encouraged by Mia has got to stop.

    Reply
  21. Carson C Cadogan February 1, 2018 at 4:27 pm

    Don’t devalue the Barbados dollar!

    That was the advice from former governor of the Central Bank of Ireland Patrick Honohan, who Thursday night warned that devaluation would take the country down a slippery slope to the point of no return.

    Questioned during the Caribbean Economic Forum sponsored by the Central Bank of Barbados, Honohan said far from pulling the country out of the current economic slump, devaluation would make matters worse in the long run.

    BARBADOS TODAY

    Reply
  22. milli watt February 1, 2018 at 5:38 pm

    slightly worse is not that bad……..now if he had said a lot worse then I would have reason to PANIC.

    Reply
  23. Ralph Greene February 1, 2018 at 6:35 pm

    Economic Recovery Plan = Get DEM OUT

    Reply
  24. Carson C. Cadogan February 1, 2018 at 9:38 pm

    “”UPDATED: TEPA launches new Taste of Saint Lucia export label

    (PRESS RELEASE) – With the focus on commanding visibility and increased market share for Saint Lucian products in potential and growing markets, the Trade Export Promotion Agency (TEPA) has completed the Taste of Saint Lucia (TOSL) branding strategy and label.

    On Thursday February 1st, TEPA unveiled the new export label to representatives of trade promotions and business support organisations at Point Seraphine Duty Free Shopping Complex.
    The TOSL trademark is a commercial label to be carried by approved Saint Lucian products and services.

    An initial six product lines have been selected based on eligibility criteria for piloting the export label -Natmed (Insect Repellant), Alirose (Coconut Oil), Rainforest (Sweet potato granola), Belle Ruches Apiary (Natural Wild Flower honey), St. Lucia Distillers (1931, Chairman’s Reserve, Bounty and Admiral Rodney Rums) and Cacoa Sainte Lucie (Chocolate).””

    THIS IS HOW FOREIGN EXCHANGE IS GENERATED.

    The private sector of St. Lucia working hand in glove with Govt., not trying to pull it down.

    CHARLES HERBERT should take a visit to St. Lucia and see what a properly functioning private sector is like. He might learn a thing or two.

    Reply
  25. luther thorne February 2, 2018 at 1:06 am

    Sad Bunch George and that crowd. Margaret and Alleyne along with lash
    Sorry bunch
    Whenever DLP forms the GOVT Barbados sees Crap !

    Reply
  26. Tony Webster February 3, 2018 at 4:15 pm

    In all the silly-season’s hurley-burley.. contrived issues, Greeks bearing gifts, and inducements to self-destruction, just remember the imperatives:
    1. Ensure your name is on the electoral list, and the designated polling station.
    2. Mare sure you don’t misplace your I.D. card.
    3. Keep your wits as sharp as the indelible pencil awaiting you.

    The rest is arithmetic, and no-one wins an argument against arithmetic.

    I nearly added “Good luck”….but it’s more appropriate to say:
    “Let’s save Bim for our children”.

    Reply
  27. Mia Colucci February 5, 2018 at 5:09 pm

    If the private sector would only pay the VAT they owed, things would be slightly better than “worse.”

    Reply
  28. David Hall February 5, 2018 at 7:25 pm

    Government is clearly out of its depth but plods on unabated in its senseless, folly to the detriment of the entire country.

    Reply

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