EDITORIAL – On the way, but it’ll be a while yet
BARBADOS?CENTRAL?BANK?GOVERNOR Dr DeLisle Worrell will feel vindicated, and the Government, more than ever, will be elated.
A curiouser and curiouser Opposition won’t fall short of thoroughly revisiting the path towards our latest economic outlook, as presented by Dr Worrell.
Opposition spokesman on the economy Clyde Mascoll and like-minded still want answers; among them, how the Government will address the “failure of the net international reserves to grow”, and how it will “finance its fiscal deficit for this year from purely domestic sources”.
Governor Dr Worrell and Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler will no doubt speak to these burning issues. After all, they are worthy of clear answers – not only for the satisfaction of the Opposition, but for the comfort and confidence of all Barbadians.
Still, we must not fail to recognize and appreciate the advance the country has made in so far as our economic growth goes. Not very long ago, there was much debate on the 2.5 per cent growth prediction of the Central Bank governor. For the critics, this revised economic projection of 2.5 per cent growth – from the earlier two per cent – by Dr Worrell was futile dreaming.
Today the governor can declare that growth was 2.8 per cent for the first quarter of 2011. The Government’s lead economic planners will be over the moon – and understandably so.
The overall quarterly report is indeed encouraging; but as the governor rightly cautions, we must be mindful that Barbados’ foreign exchange earnings fell short of import demand by about $45 million, as import of consumer goods rose by 15 per cent.
Given the Opposition’s continuing declared lack of confidence in Mr Sinckler’s handling of the Government’s Finance portfolio, it is likely, at best, that Opposition Leader Owen Arthur and Mr Mascoll will now settle for cautiously optimistic.
They are committed to not counting a single chicken before its hatched. And it is not necessarily without good reason.
As we go forward, Dr Worrell himself warns that “inflation is expected to continue to accelerate, under pressure of international oil and commodity prices”. We are by no means out of the woods; and celebration of economic growth for the last quarter must be tempered with reason – and resolve yet to be frugal.
Today’s words must be temperance and fiscal restraint.
Meanwhile, we may look forward to the day when the Government can be smiling all the way to the proverbial bank – for all our sakes!