Minister in the Ministry Finance, Economic Affairs and Investment, Ryan Straughn. (FP)

Government will be pressing ahead with the proposed reform of state-owned enterprises as part of its mandate to make these institutions more financially viable.  

Minister in the Ministry Finance, Economic Affairs and Investment, Ryan Straughn gave this undertaking as he addressed the Central Bank of Barbados (CBB) 50th Anniversary Gala and Awards ceremony at Hilton Barbados Resort recently.

He told his audience that the country needed to accelerate the pace of innovation in a post COVID-19 environment and continue with the reforms of SOE’s that had been suspended due to COVID.

“As we exit this International Monetary Fund Programme, and we contemplate a second round of the Barbados Economic Recovery Transformation [programme], we shall accelerate the reform of some of the remaining state-owned enterprises.”

The Minister continued: “As we seek to focus now on how do we mitigate fiscal risks in a very challenging environment…an uncertain environment whilst at the same time, engineering a recovery that will see as much inclusion within the context of the ordinary Barbadian.”

Acknowledging that the last two years had been the “most disruptive period of all of our lives’, Minister Straughn, a former employee of the Bank, congratulated the CBB for its work during this period noting that the country could not have exited the current IMF programme without their support.

 “As an institution I can say without a doubt that not just in the last two years, but certainly over the last four, this country could not have exited our current programme with the IMF without the support of [the] Central Bank and its staff. Under your leadership governor, I can say that the bank, its staff and this country can feel proud that the Central Bank has held its head high when Barbados was presumably, as we thought then… and the extent to which we have been able to turn the fortunes of this country around has been with the support of the Central Bank of Barbados,” Minister Straughn proffered.

Touching on cyber security, identity theft and other issues that affected consumers globally, the Minister insisted that government would ensure that the regulatory systems and technology will be in place to protect Barbadians.

“Therefore, it is important that emphasis on real financial literacy for the 21st century working across the financial sector with the stakeholders across the business community, within the schools, our communities has to be at the centre of the work that we do in the next three to five years…I look forward to the day when we will have a digital currency but in order to get there, you must ensure that our population understands the need to move in that direction,” Mr. Straughn underlined. 

During the event, a number of awards were presented with long service awards for between 10 and 40 plus years working at the Bank.

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