Strategic Plan still relevant
A FORMER CENTRAL BANK ECONOMIST says while attempts to kick-start the Four Seasons project were laudable, he is concerned that there is no clear action plan to stimulate medium-term economic growth in the island.
Dr Winston Moore, an economics lecturer and a former senior economist at the Central Bank of Barbados, was responding to Standard & Poor’s decision to adjust its economic outlook for the island from stable to negative, while maintaining the country’s BBB-/A-3 credit.
“The most recent release of the Central Bank of Barbados notes that for the April-September period, the fiscal deficit for the Central Government [as a ratio to GDP] declined by four percentage points.
“More telling, however, is that for the year [January to September] as a whole, the accumulation of gross Central Government debt was $456.1 million compared to $696.3 million in 2010.
“Given the difficulty being faced by most other countries in relation to fiscal consolidation, this effort is laudable,” Moore noted.
But the university lecturer said the value of the National Strategic Plan 2006-2025 should not be underestimated.
“The document represents the views and opinions of both the private and public sector officials in relation to their vision for the Barbados economy. Many of the plans outlined in the document are still quite relevant,” the economist stressed.
Among those objectives:
– linking the growth of incomes to the growth of productivity;
– reducing bureaucratic impediments to doing business;
– developing appropriate performance-based incentive schemes;
– sourcing about 40 per cent of the island’s energy supply from renewable sources by 2025;
– a 50 per cent increase in households using solar energy for water heating;
– 30 megawatts of electricity provided by bagasse co-generation;
– a significant increase in the number of new business enterprises established and the rate of expansion of existing ones. (GE)