BERT tar­gets ‘a tall or­der’

Daily Nation (Barbados) - - News -

An aca­demic is sup­port­ing the home­grown Bar­ba­dos Eco­nomic Re­cov­ery and Trans­for­ma­tion pro­gramme but be­lieves meet­ing the growth tar­gets could be a tall or­der.

Dean of the Fac­ulty of So­cial Sciences at the Univer­sity of the West Indies, Dr Justin Robin­son, said Bar­ba­dos needed the stamp of the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund to have the cred­i­bil­ity to re­build the econ­omy.

He said the pro­gramme en­tered into last month sent a sig­nal to “the key play­ers” that Bar­ba­dos was se­ri­ous about solv­ing its eco­nomic prob­lems.

“We need that mon­i­tor­ing and that dis­ci­pline,” the act­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of the Sagi­cor Cave Hill School of Busi­ness told a meet­ing of the Ro­tary Club of Bar­ba­dos South Wed­nes­day at Ac­cra Ho­tel.

“You have that mon­i­tor­ing and ac­count­abil­ity built into the pro­gramme. You have to meet those tar­gets,” Robin­son said.

Un­der the four-year US$290 mil­lion pro­gramme, Bar­ba­dos is com­mit­ted to achiev­ing growth of three per cent.

The Cen­tral Bank of Bar­ba­dos re­ported ear­lier Wed­nes­day that based on pre­lim­i­nary data, eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity con­tracted by 0.5 per cent dur­ing the first nine months of 2018.

Robin­son de­scribed the eco­nomic growth tar­get as “a very tall or­der”. But he added: “I sup­port the IMF pro­gramme. Fail­ure is not an op­tion for us at this time. We have no op­tion but to suc­ceed.”

For­eign re­serves

To­tal for­eign re­serves in­creased by $104 mil­lion be­tween late March and the end of Septem­ber, the bank re­ported. This in­crease was prin­ci­pally due to a sus­pen­sion of ser­vic­ing of the coun­try’s ex­ter­nal debt.

The Cen­tral Bank of Bar­ba­dos also re­ported that the first draw­down from the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund of about US$49 mil­lion had been made.

Robin­son said Bar­ba­dos should look to at­tract for­eign in­vest­ment with a view to grow­ing the econ­omy faster.

“We don’t re­ally build our re­serves on the trade side. We build our re­serves on the cap­i­tal side,” he said.

Robin­son stressed the need to build buf­fers of for­eign ex­change and im­prove the ease of do­ing busi­ness.

He an­tic­i­pated some im­prove­ment in the for­eign ex­change re­serves po­si­tion with in­flows from the Caribbean De­vel­op­ment Bank (CDB) and the In­ter-amer­i­can De­vel­op­ment Bank (IDB).

(Pic­ture by Christoff Grif­fith.)

Gov­er­nor of the Cen­tral Bank Cle­vis­ton Haynes (cen­tre) mak­ing a point as Dean of the Fac­ulty of So­cial Sciences at the Univer­sity of the West Indies, Dr Justin Robin­son, and pres­i­dent of the Ro­tary Club of Bar­ba­dos South, Vi­vian-anne Git­tens, lis­ten.

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