Barbados Economy On Right Path

No stimulus package. No budget.

But according to Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Senator Darcy Boyce, everything is moving in the right direction when it comes to this country’s economy.

During a 61-minute nationally televised Press conference last night, Senator Boyce noted that though no Budget has yet been produced by Prime Minister David Thompson, and though no stimulus package has been brought to the people, what Government had done over the past seven months was actually tantamount to a stimulus.

“What we’ve done is put back money in the people’s pockets. We won’t go to the IMF [International Monetary Fund] and unemployment is still lower than during the tenure of the last administration,” Boyce said.

The minister of state also promised that things would pick up between now and the first quarter of 2011, since a number of capital works projects were set to pick up steam. Among those projects will be the Four Seasons Hotel, a long touted reverse osmosis plant, main replacements by the Barbados Water Authority (BWA), a leachate programme of the Sanitation Service Authority, and work to alleviate traffic woes around the Warrens, St Michael area.

More money

In addition, Boyce said even more money would be pumped into the country’s tourism industry to maintain arrivals from Britain, increase the improving Canadian market, and delve further across Europe.

“What has been done so far has been reasonable,” Boyce said. “There is a level of confidence that has been shown in the Barbados economy, as shown by the recent $200 million bond issued earlier this week. The decline in the economy definitely seems to be reversing now.”

Boyce said Government had been able to sell a number of shares of the Insurance Corporation of Barbados Limited and would also continue to place shares of the Barbados National Bank on the market. The Senator noted that Government had sincerely gone about to protect the vulnerable of Barbados by introducing free bus fares for school children, summer camps, a reverse tax credit for low income workers, and deferred National Insurance Scheme payments.

Boyce said Government would stick to its previously announced medium-term fiscal and development strategy.

“It would be impossible to attempt to reduce the fiscal deficit in a fell swoop. The United States hasn’t done it. The United Kingdom hasn’t done it. Why should we try to do it?” Boyce asked.

Economic growth

Regarding a Budget, Boyce said the Prime Minister would make that decision when he felt it necessary, but in the mean time, the processes put in place would allow the country to maintain the projection of 2-3 per cent growth heading into the next fiscal year. Boyce added that it was the administration’s medium-term strategy which allowed investors to remain confident the Barbados economy, and keep it stable in the middle of the worst recession seen in recent times.

“Strategies such as this will certainly not have immediate effects. There is money that we have to spend,” said Boyce, pointing to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, the West Indies and the Transport Board.

The minister of state noted that one area Government was intent on improving was its collection of payments to statutory corporations like the BWA and the National Housing Corporation.




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