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Budget concerns

CAROL MARTINDALE, [email protected]

Budget concerns

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The Barbados Coalition of Service Industries has expressed concern that yesterday’s Budget did not place greater emphasis on the services sector.
According to executive director Lisa Cummins, urgent corrective measures are necessary to shore up that aspect of the economy.
“We continue to take policy positions that do not elevate services either in terms of expenditure or revenue generation as a significant priority,” Cummins said.
“There is definitely room for improvement and greater prioritization of this sector which is essential to support every other sector in the economy and which can stand on its own,” she said last night in response to Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler’s three-hour presentation in the House of Assembly.
Cummins pointed out that services accounted for close to 65 per cent of Barbados’ annual gross domestic product and 75 per cent of all employment while 58 per cent of services were exported.
“Seventy six per cent of all exports are in services including tourism. Those are the traditional services and do not yet even account for those that are intermediate inputs, service domestic production in manufacturing or agriculture or those high growth potential emerging sectors,” she stressed.
Cummins said while the budget sought to balance fiscal consolidation with efficiency and expenditure with growth, “the mix of sectors and measures cannot achieve the desired results without a meaningful emphasis on services sector development, growth, diversification and consolidation and exporting.”
She said the BCSI was looking forward to the opportunity to engage Government and other private sector entities on the critical role which services, particularly non-traditional services, could play in the country’s growth, development and recovery.
Sinckler announced several measures and programmes for tourism, international business and financial services, agriculture and manufacturing. He also said construction would be a main driver of economic activity through an accelerated public and private sector investment programme. (NB)