Under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Freundel Stuart, Q.C., M.P., a small Committee formed by the Heads of the Social Partnership Groups (Government, CTUSAB/BWU and the Private Sector) met on Tuesday, April 18 to discuss the proposals regarding the Fiscal Deficit and Foreign Exchange Reserves, presented by the two Working Groups set up at the last Meeting of the Full Social Partnership held on March 3.
The reports had been received in more or less “final draft” form between late March and early April. Notwithstanding the urgency of the matter, given the specific concerns of each member of the Social Partnership, it was considered imperative that the proposals be thoroughly examined and discussed by each Social Partner, prior to action.
The meeting was informed that the 2017 Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals were likely to be presented before the end of May and thus that the Social Partners would not wish to pre-empt the 2017 Budget presentation process. The Groups were advised that some of the proposals made in the reports would be dealt with in the Budget.
With the sense of urgency shared by all, it was felt that there were certain issues among the recommendations presented by the working groups which would be not addressed within the Budgetary Proposals, but on which engagement could start immediately, with a view to early action. Among these, was the issue of State Owned Enterprises (QEH, BTB and the SSA). Information was to be shared among the Groups with a view to early discussions.
It was also agreed that there would be a meeting held after the Budget to discuss the Budgetary measures announced.
The Prime Minister noted that the discussions were frank and robust and the need for clarity, certainty and firm action emphasised by all. The vital importance of dialogue among all stakeholders at all stages of the process towards solutions of the Fiscal Deficit and Foreign Exchange problems was stressed. The Prime Minister advised that, in this vein, meetings of the Partners on specific matters will be taking place over time.
The Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs also attended the meeting.
Prime Minister’s Office