Minister in the Ministry of Finance Ryan Straughn speaking to the media at today’s briefing at the Central Bank. To the left is the IMF’s Mission Chief for Barbados, Bert van Selm and to the right is Minister in the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Investment, Marsha Caddle. (A.Husbands/BGIS)

Minister in the Ministry of Finance Ryan Straughn has reiterated Government’s commitment to the reforms under the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation Programme.

Mr. Straughn made the comments today as he participated in a press conference, at the Central Bank, to wrap up a series of Government and IMF meetings.

He told the media: “We are committed to ensuring that the reforms are implemented in such a manner that the growth and recovery that is to come is as inclusive as possible. Therefore, we are asking the citizens and stakeholders across the country to let us accelerate the implementation of the reforms as quickly as possible.”

The Minister highlighted the recent implementation of ASYCUDA World as one of the reforms and said the Customs Department remains committed to supporting business facilitation.

He explained that the other systems around trade facilitation now had to be upgraded.

“We are committed to seeing these things through because we simply cannot allow ourselves to be left behind because of the old way of doing things…. We will see a number of other reforms coming through with respect to the Electronic Single Window and the Trusted Trader Programme, which will be accelerated in the coming months….

“Government, through its reform process, focuses on what is critical to actually deliver the results for the people. We are moving forward, not just to meet the six per cent [primary] surplus at the end of the year, not just to reduce the debt, which is important…. Government is committed to bringing those opportunities to the people and at the same time continuing to meet our macro-economic targets,” Mr. Straughn stressed.

Minister in the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Investment, Marsha Caddle, agreed that business facilitation was extremely important to Government and said a Doing Business Sub-Committee of Cabinet had been established, chaired by Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley.

Ms. Caddle explained that there was a reform note which looked at all the different indicators of the doing business index and there was now a reform map in place.

“It means each ministry or agency that has a responsibility for some aspect of doing business in Barbados, now has to come up with a plan for how it is going to make sure that we perform better, so that the services that are available to domestic and foreign investors [will] mean that we can see growth in the country again….

“It is an entire ecosystem of being able to make sure that we can guarantee growth by achieving some key structural reforms. The Fund programme has started to create the platform for that but there is some more work to do, not just in terms of the structural benchmarks that are part of the programme, but also in terms of all of the reforms that we know that we need to get going,” she stated.

The Minister noted that the issue of resilience and disaster risk was becoming key to Government’s work in being able to mobilize domestic and regional savings for people to invest and see returns for their investment.

“So we are doing quite a bit of work on looking at growth and resilience bonds and other financial instruments that are going to allow Barbadians to see returns from their investments,” she explained.

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