Owen Says IMF Hand In (2010)Budget

Opposition Leader, Owen Arthur has described the 2010 Budget as a recipe for personal hardships and economic chaos in Barbados.

He made the comments as he gave his reply to the budget in Parliament Tuesday afternoon.

Mr. Arthur says the budget has failed to address the critical issue of repositioning the economy and is flirting with economic catastrophe, with the IMF hand written all over it.

Mr. Arthur acknowledged that part of the difficulties facing Barbados are due to the global recession, whilst contending that others have been self-imposed in a serious way.

He accused government of pursuing the wrong set of macro-economic policies since coming to office in 2008.

He agreed that there are no easy solutions to the problems facing the economy but contended that government could have sold its shares in the Barbados National Bank and raised more money that raising VAT from 15 to 17.5 percent, which he’s described as a temporary revenue raising measure for a year.

In particular Mr. Arthur  highlighted the decline in net capital inflows from 1.5 billion to 90 million.

Mr. Arthur also strongly defended the performance of the economy and his administration between 1994 and 2008,saying unemployment had dropped from 24.3 percent to 6.7 percent during that period.

He also highlighted record foreign reserves, liberalisation of the telecommunications, saving the international business sector from the threat of the OECD, and energy sectors, and a building boom which left all artisans in this island employed.

The Opposition Leader said there’s serious need for reform and innovation and harmony between social development and economic change.

Mr. Arthur also urged government to introduce new measures to deal with the international environment, and to use what little time is left to prepare for the implementation of the economic partnership agreement with Europe.

He believes there are numerous opportunities in this regard since Europe has agreed to favourable access to its markets for products from the Caribbean, than have been agreed to by the WTO and the Doha round of negotiations.

He’s also warned that negotiating a free trade agreement with Canada will not be easy.



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