The following was received from a BU family member – Blogmaster
The Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for the financial year 2023-2024 was laid in Parliament last week. Started in 2019 a new format has been used for the Estimates debate in Barbados. Senior Civil servants are now required to come before the Finance Committee of Parliament to account for each programme being funded by the tax payer and answer any questions which MPs have about programmes or projects for which they have the responsibility of executing. These hearings will begin tomorrow Monday 20th of February as the Minister in the Ministry of Finance Ryan Straugh explains in this video. The Minister further gave a preview of the administration’s spending priorities in the coming fiscal year.
After contracting sharply in 2020 by approximately 14 percent due to travel restriction brought about the the Covid 19 pandemic, Barbados’ economy recorded a fairly robust recovery in 2020 of 10.5 percent, meaning, that the economy is still about 3 percent below pre-pandemic levels. In 2022 we also saw a major increase in government revenues, some of which can be attributed to higher economic activity and greater transaction taxes due to elevated consumer prices caused by imported inflation. The projection for 2023 is that the economy might grow by between 4 and 5 percent, if this holds then Barbados could return to or slightly surpass pre-pandemic levels this year.
One of the positives at the moment is that the government has done well to hit its fiscal targets as confirmed by the IMF in it’s latest review a few days ago. According to Central Bank data and projections the government is also on course to hit its fiscal targets for this financial year 2022-2023 which ends March 31st. There should be a primary surplus of 2.7 percent which is above the government’s original target of 2 percent. Note that the primary balance is Current Revenue minus Current expenditure (which excludes interest and amortization on past loans). This is an improvement from the large primary deficits that Barbados was running 7 or 8 years ago. For the fiscal year 2023-2024 the Estimates forecast a primary surplus of about 3.5 percent of GDP.. In 2022 the debt to GDP ratio has also declined and now sits at 123 percent of GDP.
The obvious downside risk includes the war in Ukraine and the global food and fuel prices, rising global interest rates and the rate at which the global supply chain issues are resolved.
The Minister has promised a pro-growth programme going forward. I will be watching the hearings with keen interest over the next three-four weeks to gauge the direction the administration is taking with respect to the country’s economic and social development. The heads I will keep an keen eye on are, Education, Innovation Industry and Smart Technology, Tourism, Small Business and Energy, Foreign Trade, Transport, Health and Agriculture. You can watch the hearings on Parliament’s Youtube Channel or PMO Barbados YouTube Channel.
In a somewhat related matter, Last Monday February 13th Barbados finally rolled out the Real-Time ACH payment system which was being worked on for the past two years and was discussed on your blog last year, Barbados also now finally has free Number Portability and is in the process of rolling out EVR and The digital services attached to the new ID are to be rolled out in the coming months. These developments indicate that while the government has been lauded for its fiscal discipline, there is also some light at the end of the tunnel for the Ease of Doing Business. The next area that needs to be worked on is the registry, which I understand is in the process of being digitized and the speed or lack thereof in the court system for which addition resources have been allocated.
Tourist seem to be back for this winter season.
Got to get crop over back to it precovid level and more attractions for the summer/s
Lots of PV all around but mostly on the upper class
Surprised to see a few windmill on “less fortunate” private homes
Road especially in the countryside still need lots and lots of work patching / rebuilding and also debushing
From GIS. Unsure they could make it any more confusing?
“Revised Fiscal Balance 2022-2023
On the cash basis current revenue of $3,236.9 million is expected, of which $3,047.0 million is tax revenue and $189.9 million is non-tax revenue and grant income. Total expenditure is projected to be $3,504.9 million, of which $3,033.7 million is current expenditure, exclusive of amortization, and $471.2 million is capital expenditure. The revised deficit of $268.0 million, on the IFI basis, represents 2.2% of GDP at market prices. The primary surplus for the financial year 2022-2023 is estimated to be $233.0 million or 2.0% of GDP on the cash basis.
It is estimated that Government’s total expenditure for the financial year 2023-2024, on the accrual basis, will be $4,249.3 million. When converted to the cash basis, total expenditure is $4,160.6 million, an increase 13% from the revised figure for 2022-2023. Of the amount approved for the 2023-2024, $3,849.5 million represents current expenditure and $311.1 million represents capital expenditure.
Expenditure on goods and services is expected to decrease by $0.3 million to $576.5 million. Current transfers are projected to increase by $10.4 million to $1,099.1 million.
The repayment of principal and interest on Government’s debt is expected to account for $1313.6 million compared to the revised projection of $1,124.9 million.
On the accrual basis, current revenue for the next fiscal year is projected at $3,499.9 million. On the cash basis current revenue is projected at $3,318.7 million, an increase of 2.5% over the revised revenue of $3,236.9 million for the financial year ending March 2023.
When amortization is excluded, a deficit of $179.9 million on the cash basis is expected, representing 1.4% of GDP. On the accrual basis, the operating deficit is expected to be $89.3 million or 0.7% of GDP. The primary balance is projected to be a surplus of $474.2 million or 3.7% of GDP on the cash basis.”
Senior Civil servants are now required to come before the Finance Committee of Parliament to account for each programme being funded by the tax payer and answer any questions which MPs have about programmes or projects for which they have the responsibility of executing.
This is not what accountability looks like.
The average Minister lacks the intelligence to ask pertinent questions and drill down to the root causes (Honestly I doubt it would take 5 WHYS to identify the problems impeding our growth but that is for another discussion)
Also there are zero consequences for poor performance.
So as usual, good initiative in theory, but light on details, and poorly executed resulting in a waste of time. But at least the senior civil servants will get free lunch that day
@Redguard The relevant observation has to do with a lower house that is 100% government occupied. A wart on the backside of the governance system practiced.
We continue to measure growth in tourism based on number of arrivals? Should our analysis/analytics be more advanced?
Advanced analytics produce more specific objectives and targets. This means less room for experimenting (re: the postcard) and more evidence tourism needs less board room MBA types and more Brian Talma and Loveridge grassroots types
The blogmaster recalls Adrian Loveridge was added to the BTA at the time pre BTMA and BTMI and when he started to take his appointment seriously, he was booted out by Richard Sealy the then minister and crew.
@David, exactly what do you mean by : “We continue to measure growth in tourism based on number of arrivals? Should our analysis/analytics be more advance?”
What exactly do you expect with the “more advanced” analytics than has been parsed since (let’s say) the late 90’s days of the former Intel Bdos Chief Shuffler and his then high powered, highly paid executive team!!?
How many different ways or use of different metrics can any MBA analyst or deeply experienced tourism practioner parse the numbers listed at the immigration desk as non-resident visitors aka tourists; parse the countries of origin; determine the $$ spend at ‘all inclusive resorts’ or the multiplier effect of those who visit a regular resort and spend time and money at Oistins, the Cave or otherwise with taxi/limousine entrepreneurs !
Come now, the experts have been at this for a loooong time and have dissected the data extensively. They drill down to know what is needed to satisfy a cricket or surfing style tourist; they analyze the cruise ship visitor distinctly from the family of four from Somerset or the same-sex couple from Toronto; they look carefully at the Crop-Over traveler as a repeater or not and use all their marketing nous to capitalize therefrom…
They clearly know what the Airbnb/Vrbo/etc visitor is expected to push into the economy as well as a good idea of what the relevant landlord is then expected to hide in taxes 😎 but ‘move’ in the underground economy …
They KNOW the analytics upside down … it’s really not that complicated nor mysterious now-a-days!
@Dee Word John A latched on to what was meant. You you want it explained further explore how Singapore does it analysis.
Hope this back and forth regarding tourism numbers does not raise its head again. The reality is that it changes nothing regarding our vulnerability as a one leg economy. It also does not address what the last Arthur said, tourism receipts is not enough to pay our bills.
Who raise issue about tourism numbers ?
I made 3 observations of my winter visit
The points in ur last statement are well documented here on bu and agreed to by all.
Your modus operandi is known to the blog. If you have decided to travel a different path this time around, the power to you.
The arrival numbers have always been used by the political class. Spend per night always came second. There is however the inflation cost to the state that has to be factored in also now. In other words what has the inflation rate done to the cost of government and can a growth in tourism close that gap?
As for diversification where can investors go? Well we were told that we should invest in alternative energy. Then just so the FTC ruled that the payment from Emera to the private producer was being cut. So there went the incentive for investment in that area. So are we destine to a one leg economy going forward, or will some opportunity drop into our lap that we are yet to envisage? In the meantime will we run deficits annually and adrldress the difference by borrowing?
What is de plan folks?
The blogmaster understands the tourist receipts argument when framed around opportunity cost/gain considerations but we need to shy gear to expand the narrative around deepening diverse revenue streams.
Donna doan talk tourism. Donna doan really like tourism as “we business”.
Especially de dead beat type uh tourism dat we does practise.
David beating de diversify drum. While we hearin’ bout de MOA meetin’ wid feed producers to figure out how we gun feed de animals AND de people WID de animal meat.
Aftuh de cassava feed talk, de sargassum feed talk and now some fly feed talk, we still cyan feed de animals widout CORN!
This is de first time I fin’ out dat corn is so nutritious dat it is irreplaceable!
What a ting nuh!
‘Tourism’, as a business, is just a national form of prostitution.
So do the numbers of Johns entertained per night indicate the level of ‘success’ of our tourism? – or does it more likely predict the likelihood of being severely crippled by a STD? …or some deranged pervert?
Asking for a friend from Bush Hill.
@Bush Tea You should clarify that your comment attacks a narrow sighted macroeconomic policy of successive governments which has made us addicted to tourism as the main revenue source, you have no problem with tourists as human beings visiting our fair land to enjoy what many take for granted.
As you well know, Boss
The concept of visitors choosing to visit for whatever reason, is completely different to a mindset of seeking to live by exploiting visiting friends.
When this mindset measures ‘success’ by how many we have managed to lure, and by how much $$ we were able to extract, YOU tell Bushie how we are any different to Natlee.
We have allowed the albino-materialistic mindset to take full control of our thinking…
…and we will suffer the same fate that awaits them as result.
The REAL JOKE is that, were we to have our priorities properly focused, we would be overwhelmed by visitors – coming to see if, and how, a small country could achieve such real success in a world of shaving cream.
But that is a bridge too far for brass.
The blogmaster has a slightly ‘tapered’ view of the matter. Regional politicians have been lazy in thinking, some may suggest incompetent in designing a relevant roadmap for the region. One that of necessity must be dynamic in a global environment always in flux. The fixation with going to tourism, a low hanging opportunity, so to speak is simply a symptom of lazy thinking.
“Tourism’, as a business, is just a national form of prostitution.”
Gambia just had to kick out a bunch of perverted old people from the west talking bout dem is tourist looking for love, but they are only looking for children and young Afrikans, stinking pedophiles and whoremongers on the continent..women and men in their 60 and 70s….made videos boasting about what they go to do…they picked them up and kicked them out. Western tourism is all about prostitution and pedophilia. Why ya ting the corrupt like it so much, that’s all they are capable of thinking or talking about, it’s right up their alley…they can see nothing else.
The unknown is the 18% upward revision in debt servicing costs.
Since we don’t know all the assumptions made, this number could jump again. Very unlikely it would decrease.
The projections I have seen elsewhere are “all over the map”.
“Don’t deprive Bajans of beach spaces
A recent headline in the Nation Newspaper of February 15th that screamed, “Don’t deprive Bajans of public spaces” caught my attention. In the article, Member of Parliament, Marsha Caddle expressed her concern over the loss of recreational facilities, in this case, sports grounds, to commercial development and the potential negative impact on the communities in which they are located.
Recent announcements by our tourism planners in respect of plans for the relocation of administrative buildings in Oistins and Holetown to give way to new hotel developments have caused me some similar disquiet.
The government administrative buildings at Oistins and Holetown include police stations, a library, a community centre, post offices and magistrates’ courts, among other services. Whereas it is true that these services can be provided elsewhere and that the buildings occupy prime beach front land that could attract substantial tourism investment, the magnitude of the projects that would be required to offset the cost of relocating the existing public facilities and the potential loss of practical convenience to the respective communities would be considerable.
There is little point in discussing the importance of retaining windows to the sea anymore since these have already been lost for the most part, but we can certainly have an engaging discussion on the value and desirability of creating and maintaining recreational spaces for Barbadians at beaches that border on government-owned lands.
Bajans today have become very mobile, as can be seen from the increasing traffic jams that we have to endure daily.
When Bajans go to the beach for recreational purposes, an increasing number of them arrive by car and parking must therefore be provided for those vehicles.
Recreational beach spaces cannot be reserved exclusively for tourists, who generally require extended spaces to plant their lounge chairs and beach umbrellas, at the expense of beach cricket, football, volleyball and other healthy beach activities that locals once enjoyed.
For all intents and purposes, the west coast has already been lost, with the exception of Batts Rock, Brandons and Folkestone, which are the only west coast beaches where parking and toilet facilities are provided.
As the Bay Street beach front development projects proceed, there will be diminishing returns in terms of recreational options for Bajans. The enjoyment of our beaches cannot become the exclusive preserve of wealthy investors who can finance high-rise hotels and lay claim to large swathes of beach to support the appetites of their guests.
Recreational beach spaces for locals must be carefully planned in order to avoid public antagonism and ensure future social stability demonstrated by a well-adjusted populace that is happy and eager to share the good fortune of our birthright with visitors. Rather than construct another high-rise hotel at Oistins to satisfy the beach craving of tourists, why can’t we have a project that extends beyond the Bay Gardens area to include improved beach spaces for locals with adequate parking provided across the street? The success of the Bay Gardens project and the Crop Over festival attest to the fact that tourists are happy to enjoy facilities and events that have been created for Bajans, but we must be able to share our spaces with tourists and not find ourselves in the undesirable position of having to beg tourists for a “scotch” on spaces that have been created for them.
The architects of Golden Square would do wonders at Oistins if given the challenge. That there is a plan for the Golden Square model to be replicated at Archer’s Bay in St.
Lucy is an excellent initiative.
The landscape at Holetown is already destined to be changed forever with the construction of the seven-story Royalton Hotel that will replace Discovery Bay Inn. We don’t need another high-rise hotel where the government administrative facilities are located as our tourism planners now seem to be considering. Let us create some substantial recreational beach projects that will cater specifically to the needs of the local population so that we can be assured of being able to enjoy our beach spaces for decades to come.”
This is reasonable commentary. A manifestation of bad policy by successive governments.
on February 20, 2023 at 2:15 PM said:
Your modus operandi is known to the blog. If you have decided to travel a different path this time around, the power to you.
You made a boo boo and instead of owning int or backing off you prefer to try to “attempt” to pull me down?
Read my first comment again carefully . if i want to make it about tourism numbers i could have posted the link in my second comment and moce on from there.
Go back to Feb/Mar last year and you will see that i posted about roads that were repaired in St John and St george, more mini buses/ Zrs seemed to be taking over some of the countries routes (st joseph john ) that they werent so frequent on. i think i also mentioned about the water situation in areas that used to suffer annually seemed to be fixed.
go back to pre covid and you will see when i returned i made comments about a seemed to be increasing – mainly more sugar cane seem to be planted for the next year crop as compared to what i had obserrved the previous year.
under the DLP few year i commented on the road get worst on every visit
Wormen walking alone long distance to get a bus
The down moon of the general population (before elections)
The increase in private own tanks in the st john, joseph, st andrews areas.
If you going to attack me make sure you come with the truth and not with incorrect foolishess when it is you who introduced the comments about tourist numbers. Man Up!
A small matter, next.
Tourism models change and there is a new age spiritual tourism emerging in wellness tourism as well as business and leisure packages as new trends
That is exactly how I feel also. Tourists like Oistins because it is authentically local. This so-called development will change that.
These fools cannot see past the old model.
an wen de hurricane come !
PRIVATIZATION PRESSURE MOUNTS
PM’S VISION FOR A MAJOR AIRLINE AND SHIPPING HUB
I posted as the second entry in this thread the gobbledegook from the GIS.
Now DrJR is saying the budgeted deficit is $844M. I got $815M. In either case see if the BS from the GIS comes anywhere close.
And based on estimates from elsewhere, I “believe” the budgeted increase in debt service costs is low.
As I am a critic of Reports from various governmental bodies, I need to recognize, that in the past 6 months, the following have been released to the public
Hotel and Resorts year end Report March 2022.
B’dos Tourism Product Authority for 2015/16/17/18/19/20.
B’dos Port Authority 2021
National Petroleum Corp 2015/16/17/18/19.
The BTPA was merged into BTMI in March 19.
The NPC report dates indicate officials had them in Sept 2019, but didn’t release them for 2.5 years?
So while congrats are due, these are small fish reports. And the delay in some, makes one wonder why others are being withheld. We are fairly sure the IMF would have required them.
I thought Avi wasn’t referred to as Professor any longer?
Conspicuous by their absence at former Governor’s farewell, the Big Guns.