Government intends to remain fiscally responsible and will seek to reduce the fiscal deficit to acceptable levels.

This assurance was given today by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Empowerment, Innovation, Trade, Industry and Commerce, Carson Browne. His comments came as he delivered the feature address at the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Barbados’ (ICAB) annual conference at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

The Permanent Secretary was speaking on behalf of the Minister of Economic Affairs, Dr. David Estwick.

Mr. Browne said the conference was being staged at a time when the world was experiencing tough economic circumstances. However, he noted it presented opportunities for reform and ferreting out entrepreneurial endeavours. Consequently, he called for more creative and pro-development thinking and for persons to be more focused and innovative when conducting business across all sectors.

"We as a nation must start to rebuild the type of workforce that leads to sustainable development," he stressed.

Citing this country’s dependence on tourism and external markets as leading to some measure of vulnerability, Mr. Browne stressed that government had taken steps to protect small and medium-sized businesses, so that jobs could be maintained.

Against the backdrop of the global economic recession, he indicated that Barbados was moving ahead with a three-year development plan that would improve the island’s infrastructure. He urged Barbadians to see the economic crisis as a chance to deliver an effective programme, where "we can sharpen our strategy and tighten our vision".

The Permanent Secretary identified the Needhams Point Project, housing initiatives and expansion of the Bridgetown Harbour to facilitate cruise ships, as areas being undertaken by government as catalysts for growth.

Mr. Browne commended the ICAB for developing local and professional standards and practices which, he advocated, should be maintained at the "highest possible level".

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