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Caution, says Worrell

Natasha Beckles

Caution, says Worrell

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BARBADOS’ ECONOMY is not yet out of the woods despite recording growth of 0.3 per cent last year and 2.8 per cent for the first three months of this year.
Central Bank Governor Dr DeLisle Worrell said yesterday it was too early to assure Barbadians that the economy was out of recession.
At a Press conference to discuss the first quarter economic performance, Worrell said he could not “say with any conviction we’re out of recession” before the end of the year.
“I think the advice to the average consumer is to be watchful rather than to go ahead and assume that things will be all right.”
Worrell said there were already signs that investment was picking up, particularly in tourism and tourism-related activities, and noted that the improvement in tourist arrivals, especially from Britain, was heartening.
However, he said several challenges remained and Government still needed to focus “very strongly” on fiscal restraint.
The governor noted that although VAT revenues had improved, revenues in general remained constrained. 
“Inflation is rather higher than we would like, and unfortunately, most of it is as a result of increases in prices for our imports, and in particular, fuels. That is an unwelcome sign about which we can do very little.”
Worrell also said Barbados was yet to see a recovery in taxes received from international business and financial services. 
He noted that while there had been an increase in the number of companies registered, the profitability had not yet recovered.
Worrell said Barbados’ ability to achieve two per cent growth by the end of this year should not be affected too much by rising fuel prices, since this growth would be driven by tourism, investment and construction.