BERT targets ‘a tall order’
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.”
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).
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.