Some??of the??participants??attending the Business Network International Week breakfast meeting.??

Government is aiming to achieve a deficit in the region of 2.1 per cent of the island’s gross domestic product (GDP), through the prudent financial management of its finances.

Minister of Economic Affairs, Empowerment, Innovation, Trade, Industry and Commerce, Dr. David Estwick, promised to reduce government’s expenditure, while addressing the Business Network International Week breakfast meeting. The event was held on Tuesday, at the Dining Club, Newton Industrial Estate, Christ Church.

Emphasising that the country had not escaped the challenges precipitated by the current global economic crisis, he revealed that Barbados’ real GDP contracted by 5.3 per cent; unemployment increased from 8.1 per cent in 2008, to just over 10 per cent in 2009 and the fiscal deficit widened from 6.4 per cent to 8.4 per cent of the GDP.

Given this scenario, Dr. Estwick outlined government’s proposals to tackle the problem. "We have crafted a strategy that provides for the targeted policy intervention necessary to address and moderate the fiscal issues confronting Barbados over the next five years. This will be done through better management of our revenues and expenditures.?? The programme will also address debt management and improving the management of the Public Sector Investment Programme, in general," he disclosed.??????

The Minister of Economic Affairs opined that government’s plan also supported its long-term vision of becoming A Fully Developed and People-Centered Society, through New Development Pathways, to guide the country’s future economic growth.

This initiative, he said, would seek to, among other things, achieve full employment, or at best, keep unemployment rates in the single digits by creating a cadre of entrepreneurs; maintaining a strong macro-economic environment and a fixed exchange rate by ensuring that foreign exchange reserves remained at adequate levels.

The policy would also attract greater investment opportunities, by ensuring that the correct fiscal, legal and human resource environments were in place and to ensure it becomes a globally competitive and productive economy that would sustain a growth rate of 3.0 per cent, or over.

Dr. Estwick noted that government would continue to formulate policies that would respond to changes in the regional and global trading environments.

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