Are we as Barbadians prepared for what must come?

Submitted by Akil Daley

To live within our fiscal and debt management means, we now have to be circumspect in creating more social entitlements, save and except for the truly needy and reform some of our entitlement programmes to eliminate expenditure wastage.

Owen Arthur 2007

Do we truly understand what living within our debt management means would look like?

Former Prime Minister Arthur must have asked himself this question.

It is no secret that much of the progress in Barbados was driven by investment in the Social Sectors. It may also be concluded that the Social Sector is now too large for the economy to carry at a time when the economy is itself undergoing a difficult transition. A thorough rebalancing of the relationship between the Social and Economic Sectors, seems to be necessary to bring back harmony to the process of National Development.

The State has made available to the citizens at large, a wide array of entitlements and social services using a principle of free universal access. We are at the point where this can not continue.  Fundamental adjustments have to therefore be made to the range of entitlements afforded to the citizens by the state.

We must also agree on a fresh approach to determining who should benefit. A comprehensive rebalancing of the role of the state and the private sector in the Social arena of Barbados, has to be envisioned as an essential part of the new governance arrangements for the society.

It goes without saying that privatisation has to be engaged as a major aspect of Governance in Barbados. In order for this transition to thrive we must prioritize changing the business culture in Barbados with emphasis on improving the conditions for doing business.

Barbados will not succeed unless a carefully conceived and managed programme of privatisation is made part of its economic future. The government of Barbados, like those in the rest of the Caribbean, will not succeed in overcoming its horrendous debt problems with which it is affected, unless it ends having to borrow or transfer funds to cover losses. It is better to create State enterprises fashioned along private sector lines, to carry out specialized functions that are too complex to get caught up in bureaucracy. It is however important to consider that any privatisation of the large owned state enterprises in Barbados should be accompanied by employee shareholder options.

We are at the crossroads and as Martin Luther King Jr. said ” the time is always right to do the right thing.”

30 thoughts on “Are we as Barbadians prepared for what must come?

  1. I don’t buy into insidious specious right wing spin tropes
    I’m con-caved
    Into your electric shock, you got me
    Oh, you’re into dwelling
    Well, I’m into manifestation
    I please me
    What do you see
    Yea your exotic stare can keep me
    What will we be
    When time isn’t agreeing
    And my habits pick back up from
    Me just loving me
    I’m not empty
    Your fulfillment isn’t in need
    Just feel hazy
    Let your gut guide you when you’re with me
    I’ll stay boldly
    And my unbothered features will glimpse blindly
    I’ll rich the scene
    You can practice when you’re with me
    I’m con-caved
    Into your electric shock, you got me
    Oh, you’re into dwelling
    Well, I’m into manifestation
    I please me
    What do you see

  2. Frank Stronach:
    Halting the inevitable drift toward socialism

    We’ve reached a dangerous tipping point where more and more people are taking resources out of our economy, through government handouts, and fewer and fewer people are contributing to it. In other words, there are more people who are dependent on government handouts for their livelihood and fewer people generating the tax revenue needed to support the social safety net.

    Article content

    Our government, meanwhile, is more focused on how to distribute wealth than on how to create it. It’s a trend that happens in almost all capitalist democracies: over time, they invariably drift toward a socialist economy propped up by government spending and social programs for a growing segment of the population.
    And here’s the reason why: the democratic system is vote-driven, which incentivizes political parties to cater to the masses by introducing wealth redistribution measures and socialistic programs.
    The inevitable result is that the free enterprise system gets slowly pulled toward a more socialistic system, where the state takes and distributes a larger and larger portion of the wealth, leading to an an enormous build-up of bureaucracy that stifles individual initiative and productivity.

    Article content

    When the disparity between the wealthy and workers grows larger and larger, with growing cries to take from the rich and give to the poor, it’s hardly surprising that more and more people begin to question capitalism and look to other systems that promise greater equality. We need to wake up to the realization that wherever you have economic disparity, you have fertile ground for socialism to spread.
    I believe the best way to stop our inevitable slide toward socialism is to give workers a portion of the profits they help produce. One solution, therefore, would be to require companies to share their profits with their workers.
    I have always believed that it takes three forces to drive a business: managers, investors and employees. Most importantly, I believe that all three have a right to share in the business’s profits.

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    Traditionally, investors have received a cut of the profits through dividends and stock appreciation. Managers have also gotten a healthy chunk of the profits through bonuses, stock options and other payments. But employees are often left out of the profit sharing — and without employees, you don’t have a company.
    Companies must realize that they can be more productive and more competitive if they’re able to harness those three driving forces — management, employees and investors — and get them all to pull in the same direction. If you have a wagon pulled by three horses, and each of the horses runs off in a different direction, you usually end up in the ditch. It’s the same with most businesses.
    Profit sharing among all of the key stakeholders of a business is basically a recognition that the people who create wealth should get a fair share of that wealth. It’s what we did at Magna for many years, and it was one of the key reasons why the company continually achieved record profits.

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    Our employees not only got a portion of the profits each year in the form of cash, they also received equity in the company, making them part-owners of the business they helped make successful.
    Imagine if we could apply the same profit-and-ownership principle on a national scale.
    Sharing profits with workers would benefit companies, employees and governments. Companies would see an increase in productivity and profits. Employees would get more income. And governments would gain enhanced tax revenue due to the growth generated by increased spending.
    By requiring large companies with more than 300 employees to establish a profit-sharing plan that gives employees 10 per cent of the annual profits, we can create a system where wealth is distributed more evenly and fairly throughout the economy, rather than remaining concentrated in the hands of relatively few individuals.

    Article content

    But most of all, the economy would function better if we had a much fairer and broader distribution of wealth, and there would be fewer social problems caused by the growing income gap between the wealthy and the working class.
    Instead of constantly redistributing the wealth we create, we need to focus on how we can improve the living standards of everyone in society, while lifting the people at the very bottom rungs out of poverty and off of their dependence on the state.
    One thing is for certain: if we fail to find a way to allow workers to participate in wealth creation, our society will continue its slow but sure drift toward socialism.
    National Post
    Frank Stronach is the founder of Magna International Inc., one of Canada’s largest global companies, and an inductee in the Automotive Hall of Fame.

    • @Wily

      A good read BUT there is no perfect system. We must be sensible by being pragmatic in application based on the state of things.

    • Here we go again, wages chasing prices. Where, when will it end?

      Wage talks ‘dragging on’

      CTUSAB concerned about ‘lack of urgency’
      THE UMBRELLA BODY for trade unions, Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB), is raising concerns that current wage negotiations for public workers are dragging on too long.
      Stressing that the issue requires greater urgency as workers continue to be bogged down by the rising cost of living, CTUSAB general secretary Dennis DePeiza said that with only a solitary preliminary meeting four months ago, the union is hard-pressed to say that progress is being made on the talks.
      DePeiza made the comment during the hosting of the CTUSAB’s end-of-year press conference, which was held at the headquarters of the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) yesterday. He lamented that the pace at which the talks were going, runs counter to earlier assurances of a quick conclusion.
      “Right now everybody is raising concerns about where the money is coming from and right now we are also concerned. We have had one preliminary meeting and we are yet to go back to the bargaining table. This to my mind is appalling and I say this against the backdrop that when the precursor to the preliminary meeting was held by the Prime Minister [Mia Amor Mottley], we were told about the intention to have these negotiations completed in the quickest possible time,” DePeiza said.
      He added: “We understood this to mean that the negotiations would have been concluded before December 2022. I suspect that at this rate we will probably have it done before December 2023. This is something that is of concern to us because workers in this country are facing peril and we know that times are even getting rougher. It is important that we at least have something that would be able to stop a hole. We need to get some word from the Government side on the re-convening of these meetings because it is important that we do so.”
      Last month, one official close to the development revealed that while the early exchanges have been cordial, at one end of the scale the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) is asking for as much as a 12 per cent increase, while the Ministry of Public Service is countering with an offer of two per cent However, De Peiza said the umbrella body is pushing for the negotiations to be wrapped up within the first two months of next year. He made it clear that unlike previous salary negotiations which took years, workers could not afford protracted talks on this occasion.
      “Public officers went over six years without an increase, and we had a negotiation at one point that took three years to complete. Now in this climate that is simply untenable. We would expect that in the first quarter or at least before the financial year ends, that this matter is settled. By January or February
      this matter should be done. I don’t see us hanging around after March on this issue,” he said, while stressing that CTUSAB was still not ready to publicly state how much of an increase they were demanding,” the General Secretary said.
      He argued that with Government initiating the wage talks, the threshold should already be known and therefore the process should have been much smoother.
      “The Government knows where it is at and therefore their planning has to include something about salary increase for workers. You know what is being asked by the workers in terms of an increase and you should therefore crunch your numbers to see what reasonable offer you can come up with. You can’t have 30 consultants around and still not have the basic understanding of where you want to go,” DePeiza said. (CLM)

      Source: Nation

    • fyi

      ECLAC Will Present its Flagship Report Preliminary Overview of the Economies of Latin America and the Caribbean 2022
      The document, which offers updated economic growth estimates for the region’s countries in 2022 and new projections for 2023, will be released at a press conference by the United Nations organization’s Executive Secretary, José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, on Thursday, December 15.  
      A person speaking into a microphone

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      (December 12, 2022) The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) will present on Thursday, December 15 its annual flagship report Preliminary Overview of the Economies of Latin America and the Caribbean 2022, in which it examines the behavior of the region’s economies over the current year and updates estimates for growth and other economic indicators that reflect the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the region’s countries along with their subsequent recovery. Specifically, the document will present new Gross Domestic Product (GDP) estimates for the region and all of its countries in 2022 as well as projections for 2023. In this edition, the report analyzes the economic and social dynamics of the year that is about to end and discusses the policy risks and challenges that the region will face in 2023 for fostering a transformative recovery. The report will be unveiled at a hybrid (in-person and virtual) press conference given by José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, ECLAC’s Executive Secretary, at the organization’s central headquarters in Santiago, Chile at 11:00 a.m. local time (UTC/GMT -3:00). The document indicates that a deceleration in the growth rate of the region’s countries is foreseen in 2023. The specific magnitude of the main regional economic indicators will be released by ECLAC’s Executive Secretary at the press conference. The press conference will be transmitted live via Zoom at the following link: In addition, the press conference will be transmitted online for the general public via the institution’s website, at and on its social media accounts on Twitter (@cepal_onu) and Facebook ( Journalists participating virtually will be able to submit their questions ahead of time to the email address, and ECLAC’s Executive Secretary will respond to them during the press conference. Questions will only be taken until 11:30 a.m. local time on Thursday, December 15. The full electronic version of this new annual report by ECLAC, along with a press release and the presentation by Executive Secretary José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, will be made available on ECLAC’s website on Thursday, December 15, as soon as the press conference has concluded.

  3. Wily Coyote
    As mentioned I don’t buy into right wing tropes
    Capitalism failed due to Globalism, Automation, GFR, Investment Markets and Banks crashing, less workers required and Big Business taking over and the only scam left in town is divisive right wing trash politicians riding racism populism bandwagons.

  4. ICU / Coco Jones
    Something ’bout your hands on my body
    Feels better than any man I ever met
    Something ’bout the way you just get me
    I try and I
    Don’t ’cause I
    Can’t forget

    You got a feel and a soul
    That I need in my life
    (Yeah-yeah) oh-h
    And though we may grow
    I don’t know why we don’t grow apart

    Maybe I need you
    I breathe you
    Turning my heart blue
    Maybe I need you
    When I leave you

    First we agree that we better as friends
    I delete every message that we sent
    Try to move on with somebody less like you
    I don’t know how we end up in the red
    Find myself reading your comments again
    And then end up in each other’s heads
    It all makes sense because


    “Mr Bourne’s relatives have expressed mixed views about his potential release from hospital. His relatives initially stated their intentions to provide support . . . but recently these relatives have in some cases withdrawn their intentions . . . ,” Dr Chase told the court.”

    I believe the family will provide some level of support., but what they are doing here is keeping the government’s feet to the fire. You have housed this man to and advance age and when he is well past the point of being gainfully employed and would now saddle him on his relatives.

    I suspect family members will provide support, but will not let the government dump their relatives. The family has to stay on top of the government and advocate that this man be treated as a human being and his rights be protected.

    Hear his anguished cry.
    “Keeping me there does nothing!” he declared. “42 years and I stepping backwards. I am not violent, I don’t think violent, I don’t act violent. I have never totally mentally relaxed in the Psychiatric Hospital. I love myself . . . 42 years . . . and my medication never increased; in fact, it decreased.”

    “I have been through programmes . . . . I could handle myself. I need to be free, I no longer want to be at the Psychiatric Hospital, I need to be free. It’s about time, Your Honour.

    “Keeping me there to do what now? I am an individual . . . . I have self-esteem. Theo Bourne wants to be free!”

    My eyes are tearing. **TheOGazerts says free the man. Provide him with one those apartments reserved for the side-chick of a politician or Chinese houses with food and utilities are paid for by the government. No dumping of this patient.

  6. First they came for those in the Diaspora

    I saw a more virulent version of this story titled “Derelict properties be converted to houses”. We have to be careful that this is not a next transfer of wealth to one of the richest men in Barbados.

    An attempt should be made to properly and adequately compensate property owners instead of giving them pennies for their properties and then transferring the properties to the super-wealthy.

    It bothers me that a people who boast of their high level of education can be so gullible and blind.

    When the feel good and Anansi stories are over, your turn will come.

    First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

    —Martin Niemöller

    • Barjam has no standing. They are “raising awareness”.
      Such freezes are usually limited to fraud, to prevent funds disappearing before a matter is adjudicated. And rendering a verdict is usually a priority matter, to avoid bankruptcy (preserving assets and jobs).

  7. They are going to get exactly what they deserve for what they wasted all these years doing. We get to sit and watch the show for free.

  8. A few typos.
    But this morning was very heavy reading.

    Can you imagine a detective arriving at a scene observing a skeleton, making notes and then leaving the scene. There is no attempt to go beyond describing the skeleton. No attempt to find out who is the deceased? What was the cause of death? When did death occur? The primary function of the detective is ignored.

    That’s how many of the news stories read. Just notes. There is no attempt to probe beyond the surface. No attempt to understand the greater consequences of some actions. A ten-year old with a pen and paper can produce articles of the same quality. Misinforming, misleading and confusing seem to be the order of the day.

    Attempted robberies are described as if they are charitable donations and good deeds. Educated black faces (usually politicians) smiling at you from the pages of the paper as if they are your friends. Smiling at you as they are on their way to the bank with their friends and your money in their pocket.

    But I do not blame the media or the politicians, I put the blame on you. You had over 60 years of two groups running the same game … one opposes, the other proposes, but in the end, both do exactly the same thing.

    Both do not keep their promises;
    both rely on trick and schemes to take money out of pockets;
    both practice perpetuation of generational poverty;
    they run after new fangle ideas and the end result is the same, you are the loser;
    problems are not fixed;
    an injustice system that admits how bad it is, but never fixes itself;
    a host of new laws and new committees but nothing changes; a
    nd all they provide are high profile PR meetings and at the end of it, you get/got nothing.

    Some of you are eagerly looking forward to the quintennial games (unless Mia gets a brainwave and makes them biennial or triennial), then we will an increase of hot air rising from Barbados. Talk about global warming.

    Perhaps my perception is skewed to one side, but that state is preferable to being optimistic and blind.

    If I could just get a few of you to look below the surface and to try to follow the story to the logical conclusion then I would feel as if I contributed.
    Why do you have to wait 15 years to find out that the NIS finances could be gone in two decades?
    Why do you have to wait until the vaccine scam plays out in the US courts to get information from some of the main actors?
    What about the FTC, is it serving you?
    What about the hacks of governmental organization; are we seeing hackers or is your information already sold and the thieves just collecting it?
    What about the judges who looks like deer caught in the headlights as they make empty promises?
    Why should the constitution come after creation of the Republic? What will it say?
    Guns, drugs and deaths are running rampant and suddenly “parents and PSV workers are public enemy #1.

    Sometimes, I laugh at what I see happening.. if I didn’t I would cry. It’s a tragedy with comedic content

    ————————–Have a great day———————

  9. Typos abound.. Should I rewrite or should I leave as is.
    Do I have to type in MS Word and then paste here?
    Was thinking of the “Advocate” issue?
    The thought crossed my mind that it was a hobbling of a portion of the press.
    “there are many ways to skin a cat”
    Still thinking.

  10. Great link by the blogmaster.

    Sufficient information was provided for me to Google. Wondering what are the pros and cons of the Nation providing a link to the business?

    The displays in The Nation newspaper are fantastic.

    Just a thought: Perhaps this is an opportunity for private investors to approach the owner

  11. “Both do not keep their promises; both rely on trick and schemes to take money out of pockets;”

    Them and CXC look for ways to grab ya money. Each parent paid over $400 per child for a review of the grades they stole, were supposed to get results in November and they refused, and now ignoring the parents but got the money. Crooks, always got a scheme or scam to relieve people of their money.

    • Barbados: Request for an Arrangement Under the Extended Fund Facility and Request for an Arrangement Under the Resilience and Sustainability Facility-Press Release; and Staff Report

      Publication Date:

      December 16, 2022

      Electronic Access:

      Free Download. Use the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view this PDF file


      Despite a series of economic shocks, Barbados has made good progress in implementing its Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) plan since the government led by Prime Minister Mia Mottley took office in May 2018. Macroeconomic stability was restored with a combination of comprehensive sovereign debt restructuring, fiscal consolidation, and structural reforms to reduce fiscal dominance and enhance growth. International reserves have increased to US$1.4 billion by end-September 2022 from a historical low of US$220 million in 2018. While fiscal consolidation was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, public debt was put back on a downward path starting in FY2021/22. Building on the successful completion of a 2018-22 Extended Fund Facility (EFF), the authorities have requested a successor EFF program along with a Resilience and Sustainability Facility (RSF) to strengthen fiscal sustainability, support the structural reform agenda, and increase resilience to climate change.


      Country Report No. 2022/377


      International organization Monetary policy

    • Economies of Latin America and the Caribbean Will Decelerate in 2023 and Will Grow by 1.3%

      In its annual report Preliminary Overview of the Economies of Latin America and the Caribbean, ECLAC projects that regional growth next year will be a third of the rate forecast for 2022.

      (December 15, 2022) In a context of external uncertainties and domestic restrictions, the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean will grow by 3.7% in 2022, just over half of the 6.7% rate recorded in 2021. It is estimated that the deceleration in economic growth will intensify in 2023, giving rise to a 1.3% rate. According to its Preliminary Overview of the Economies of Latin America and the Caribbean 2022 – unveiled by the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs – the monetary policy responses adopted worldwide in 2022, in a context of rising global inflation, have sparked greater financial volatility and increased risk aversion, and have thereby prompted fewer capital flows to emerging economies, including the region’s economies. But the reduction in global inflation expected in 2023 will tend to moderate monetary policy rate hikes by the main central banks, the organization adds. The document indicates that after the dynamism seen in the first half of 2022, the region’s economic activity has slowed, reflecting, on the one hand, an end to the rebound effect on the recovery from 2021, and on the other, the effects of restrictive monetary policies, greater limitations on fiscal spending, lower levels of consumption and investment, and the deterioration of the external context. The report emphasizes that the labor market recovery process underway in the first half of 2022 did not allow for eliminating the traditional gaps between men and women exhibited in indicators such as the labor force participation rate and the unemployment rate. In addition, an increase in informality has been observed in 2022 along with a decline in real wages. In the fiscal sphere, although there has been a reduction in the primary deficit, debt levels continue to be high, which means that fiscal space can be expected to continue conditioning the trajectory of public spending. The risk of interest rate hikes, of currency depreciations and greater sovereign risk are seen hampering the financing of government operations in 2023. One aspect that the report highlights is that the changes seen in the trajectory of regional inflation in the second half of 2022, coupled with the deceleration in economic activity that is expected to continue next year, will reduce the pressure on monetary authorities in Latin America and the Caribbean to continue raising monetary policy rates. ECLAC indicates that the current situation poses challenges for macroeconomic management. On fiscal matters, officials must avoid premature spending adjustments and expand fiscal space by reducing evasion and avoidance, reviewing tax expenditures, carrying out reforms to increase tax collection and the tax structure’s progressivity, and with multilateral support via the mobilization of global liquidity. It is also necessary to make progress on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of public spending to enhance fiscal policy. In the monetary-financial realm, it is important to diversify the toolbox for facing the current scenario. Along with the monetary policy rate, officials should use macroprudential and regulatory instruments that would help manage aggregate demand, minimizing the effects on growth and investment. Finally, the Preliminary Overview 2022 argues that it is critical to stimulate investment and productivity in order to address social demands, the creation of decent employment, to reduce informality, inequality and poverty, and move forward on climate change adaptation and mitigation. To that end, innovative public policies are needed on productive, financial, trade and social matters and on the care economy, to avoid another lost decade like the one observed for the 2014-2023 period.

      More information: Table. Latin America and the Caribbean: Growth Projections, 2022-2023 (update). Executive Summary: Preliminary Overview of the Economies of Latin America and the Caribbean 2022. Presentation by ECLAC’s Executive Secretary, José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs. For queries and to arrange interviews, contact ECLAC’s Public Information Unit.   Email:; Telephone: (56 2) 2210 2040.

  12. If anybody wondered…
    “In economics, fiscal dominance is about who’s really in charge of monetary policy. Do central bankers run monetary policy in pursuit of the traditional goal of price stability or do they run it to make life easier for heavily indebted finance ministers?”

    • IMF: Debt now sustainable

      However, Govt’s ability to meet objectives over next 5 years in doubt
      By Shawn Cumberbatch
      Barbados’ debt is now sustainable and faces only “moderate” risk of being under stress in the medium and long term.
      That is the conclusion of a new debt sustainability analysis by the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) staff.
      However, one of the tools used to conduct the assessment, the “debt fanchart index” which measures medium-term solvency risks, found that the elevated volatility linked to key economic indicators meant there was a high risk that Government would not meet its objectives to reduce debt over the next five years.
      IMF experts also want Government to hasten its approval and implementation of public sector pension reforms because this expenditure “is projected to increase pressure onto GFN (gross financing needs) and debt in the long term”.
      The IMF’s evaluation of public debt, which was $13.8 billion at the end of September, came as Minister in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs Ryan Straughn told Parliament on Friday that “notwithstanding the increase in global interest rates, the stock of debt today has been issued at significantly lower interest rates than under the previous administration and, therefore, the debt service cost will by far be more affordable than when this Government took office”.
      ‘Moderate risk’ “Barbados’ overall risk of [Government debt] stress is assessed to be moderate. This is consistent with the moderate near, medium, and long-term final risk assessments,” the Fund said in its debt sustainability analysis.
      “While the fanchart flashes a high-risk signal due to the large volatility of key macroeconomic indicators, public debt is strictly on a downward trend and the GFN financeability tool indicates a moderate risk. Further, Barbados’ public debt is assessed to be sustainable.”
      The IMF also stated: “The debt-to-GDP ratio has been brought back onto a downward trajectory in financial year 2021/2022 after a temporary interruption due to fiscal responses to the COVID-19 and a sharp contraction in nominal GDP in financial year 2020/21.
      “Under the current baseline, the 60 per cent-of-GDP debt anchor is projected to be reached by financial year 2035/36 with envisaged primary surpluses backed by an economic recovery and structural reforms. Risks include a slower-than-expected tourism recovery, and the authorities’ ability to maintain high primary surpluses over an extended period.”
      The IMF staff assessment added, however, that “while these risks are mitigated by Barbados’ strong track record under the recently completed [Extended Fund Facility]supported programme, a favourable debt service schedule, and improved market perceptions following the comprehensive 2018-2019 debt restructuring, the capacity to generate high primary surpluses is untested”.
      ‘Realism tools’ The analysis also said that although “the realism tools” suggested that Government’s projected debt reduction was ambitious, “the staff is of the view that this is feasible given the authorities’ strong commitment and Barbados’ country-specific economic circumstances”.
      Delivering a ministerial statement on Government’s half-year budget review in the House of Assembly, Straughn indicated that even while accounting for the COVID-19 economic shock, public debt was now on a downward path.
      “At the end of March 2018, the total debt owed by Government was $18.004 billion, of which public debt was $15.843 billion, Central Government guaranteed debt $977 million, and arrears totalled $1.184 billion. This represented 178.8 per cent of GDP.
      “At the end of March 2020, just before the public health measures were introduced to address the COVID-19 pandemic, total debt was $13.226 billion, or 128.6 per cent of GDP, reflecting the successful completion of the domestic and external debt restructuring, along with the accelerated payment of arrears.
      “This meant that the Government was able to repay $1.031 billion for outstanding goods and services owed to many domestic firms and individuals, as well as various tax refunds, all left unpaid by the last administration,” he added.
      The economist explained that during the pandemic, “Government increased borrowing to finance the gap created by the economic fallout and to support the social protection measures to protect the most vulnerable in the society, and at the end of March of 2022 for the seventh Extended Fund Facility review, total debt was $14.247 billion, or 140 per cent of GDP”.
      He added: “At the end of September 2022 the total debt stock stood at approximately $13.808 billion, or 126.6 per cent of GDP, clearly showing that the debt is once again on a downward trajectory as the economy continues to grow.
      “It should be obvious, even to a class one pupil, that $13.8 billion today is $4.2 billion less than the $18 billion in March of 2018. Nevertheless there are some amongst us that would have . . . the public believe otherwise.”

      Source: Nation

    • Open to talks
      Branker: Private sector willing to negotiate another prices compact
      AS BARBADIANS continue to face the cost of living crunch, the business community is expressing a willingness to negotiate a second round of the social compact on certain food items, which is scheduled to end next month.
      President of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), Anthony Branker, said the initiative, which saw businesses agreeing to lower the mark-up on 44 items, has been largely successful in its objective of stabilising prices. He told the DAILY NATION that while he could not say whether the business community will agree to the same terms as last time, they were certainly willing to hold talks on the issue.
      “What I would say is that we are not yet out of the inflationary climate that we find around the world and if the compact was successful, I believe that we would be willing to go back into another round of negotiations with Government. At the end of the day, we are all consumers, and we are mindful of the challenges that some people face on a daily basis. So, we are very willing to sit with Government again to see what we can come up with,” he said.
      Some prices maintained
      “I think that the compact has done well. It has maintained prices in most instances to where they were before the agreement was signed. The compact has indeed been a success to the consumers and that is what really matters, but I think going forward it has to be a negotiation. The agreement was negotiated and hammered out at the level of the Social Partnership, and I won’t want to draw any conclusions because it is a process that involves both labour, the business community and Government. We would therefore want
      to go back to that process and not pre-empt it by saying yea or nay at this time.”
      The Social Partners Food Prices Compact, which came into effect on July 21, saw businesses promising to keep their mark-ups on those items no higher than between 12 and 15 per cent until January 31 next year.
      Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley had said the items included whole chicken, chop mix chicken, stew chicken and chicken backs, pork hind legs (hind leg chops), stew pork, knuckles, hocks, pigtails, beef stew, sliced ham, eggs, New Zealand cheddar cheese, margarine (Sunflower), evaporated milk, baby food milk and two per cent milk.
      However, some Barbadians have challenged claims that the compact has been effective in stabilising food prices. Some have gone as far as to suggest price gouging in some instances.
      Branker said such views only existed because some people did not understand how the system was designed to work. He explained that the costs of the items in question could still fluctuate, so while the mark-up remained constant, the base price was influenced by external factors. He added that recent statistics from the Ministry of Commerce supported this.
      “People have been interpreting the arrangement incorrectly. It was never about fixing a price. Therefore, if you look at the last survey by the Ministry of Commerce, you would see that up to the ending of October going into November, in many instances the prices were lower than before we went into the compact. So it is definitely worth it.
      “We understood that we were doing it for the good of our customers both at the retail and distribution end. We understood that it was our contribution to the society and therefore we stuck to it. Obviously, we would have had to take a significant hit on several items but we did it as good corporate citizens,” Branker said.

      Source: Nation

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