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‘Agitate’ against deficit

shadiasimpson, [email protected]

‘Agitate’ against deficit

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THE PRIVATE SECTOR needs to speak out against Government’s high and unsustainable current account deficit, says economist Ryan Straughn.
Speaking last Tuesday during the Broad Street Journal’s breakfast club meeting at the Savannah Beach Hotel, he said public finances needed a complete overhaul.
Straughn, who is the president of the Barbados Economic Society, said Government’s interest payments consumed about 24 per cent of total revenue due to the large fiscal current account deficits occurring over the last three years.
“The private sector has to agitate against it because at the end of the day we’re the ones who will have to pay in terms of taxation,” he said.
“It requires more resources from the private sector to finance that debt and that is something we have to very mindful of in the context of Jamaica, in the context of Guyana and other regional countries,” he added.
The economist said that in order for the economy to be “reengineered” Government’s debt service had to be brought down to a more manageable level.
Straughn said the Democratic Labour Party administration had “unfortunately” reached the point where it would have to privatize some statutory corporations not to make new investments but to repay the debt incurred.
“That’s a very funny position to be in, that you’re selling assets to pay debt rather than selling assets to make new investment,” he said.
Straughn said the time had come for “hard economics” and Government had already received numerous suggestions on the way forward from private sector agencies.
“It seems we have to put ideas into people’s minds for them to think that it’s their own in order for something to happen and that is a big problem.
“We don’t have time . . . for making people feel good. Things need to be done,” he said. (NB)