EDITORIAL – We must all pull together
Whatever else the Budget debate MAY?HAVE done, it has generated considerable attention
to the nature of our vulnerabilty, the impact of the international recession and the divergent approaches of the two political parties towards management of the economy and putting it right.
The people of this country will soon have a chance to return their verdict on these matters, and in doing so they will have to consider whether the suggestions made by the Opposition present a better choice, or whether Mr Chris Sinckler’s plans are the correct remedy for our current economic ills.
But let us face facts.
Management of the economy is never an easy ride, international recession or not, and recessions make the task of any Minister of Finance in a small developing society ever more difficult.
Especially so when, as in our case, we are part of a group of neighbouring islands whose economies intersect, and when we also depend on metropolitan countries for the sale of tourism and other services.
Then the problem is threefold.
Expenditure has clearly emerged as the major bugbear confronting us, and sending home public workers is unacceptable as an economic solution because it creates social problems and personal pain.
A key objective must therefore be to stimulate growth of the economy, since such growth and resulting activity will benefit Government revenues and complement any reduction in expenditure, thereby bringing the deficit down to more manageable proportions.
The Minister of Finance has recognized this point and his incentives to exporters are designed to achieve this end, when combined with the reliefs given; but the criticism that these proposals will not generate the requisite growth at all levels may have some substance.
Nevertheless the Government is prepared to stick to its plan and points to the fact that the economy has grown since the last Budget in October of 2010. Yet there is a good case for some further analysis by the Government of the cost of fuel and for ever constant scrutiny of developments in the offshore sector.
The debate will continue well outside of Parliament, but no matter what the arguments, our country cannot afford any further attrition of its position, nor can we accept any erosion of our standard of living.
All Barbadians must therefore join with the Government in pulling the country forward and restoring full health to our economy. After all, the future of Barbados is our present business!