|Christopher Sinckler, Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs. (FP)
The most recent report on the Barbados economy by the Central Bank of Barbados once again clearly demonstrates the very heavy impact which the unsettled financial and economic conditions internationally, particularly among Barbados’ key trading partners are having on our national efforts to forge a full recovery from the economic recession.
Disappointingly, these conditions are likely to continue and potentially deteriorate further in the near term.
As we predicted in the Estimates Speech in March this year, persistently high oil and commodity prices would likely have stymied our own economic recovery by as much as a percentage despite our best efforts, while the continued weak economic recovery in our main source markets for tourism has obvious slowed the pace of our economic acceleration so far for this year.
These challenges notwithstanding, the fact that our economy continues to grow albeit marginally, is still a welcomed, if not totally satisfactory, development.
Equally welcomed are the results on the fiscal side where over the first six months of the current fiscal year, serious progress has been made to bring the fiscal deficit down (at 5.3 per cent down from 9.6 per cent) to near levels consistent with government’s Medium Term Fiscal Strategy.
The continued recovery in VAT receipts as part of an overall pick up in revenues and the reductions in key areas of expenditure, particularly in Subsidies and Transfers are signs that the government’s programme for fiscal consolidation is getting serious traction.??
Our objectives as a country over the next six months to a year must be to sustain current and forge new strategies to expand our economy;??stay on course with our programme of debt reduction through fiscal consolidation; protect and where possible create new jobs for Barbadians through higher levels of foreign direct and domestic investment and;??maintain a strong social safety net to assist the most vulnerable among us.
Recognizing that there are no quick fixes to neither the global nor domestic economic situations, Government therefore calls on all Barbadians to continue to work as Team Barbados to shepherd our economy and society through these continually challenging times as we build on progress made thus far and look to achieve greater gains going forward.
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