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Chamber not for doom and gloom approach

NATASHA BECKLES, [email protected]

Chamber not for doom and gloom approach

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THE BARBADOS CHAMBER of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) has cautioned against a doom and gloom approach to the island’s economy.
And president Lalu Vaswani urged Barbadians to “remain focused on constructive solutions that can move the country forward while acknowledging any shortfalls and taking appropriate steps to avoid a repeat”.
His comments came in a release issued by the BCCI yesterday in response to Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler’s update on the economy in the House of Assembly last Friday.
The BCCI said it had been giving careful consideration to Sinckler’s comments and it was clear that Government had to take drastic action to reduce operating costs.
“Specifically, it was noted that the deficit stood at $511.1 million compared to $378.2 million for the corresponding period in 2012.  Further, the BCCI could not help but notice that beyond the current situation, there are major supplementary projections for the QEH [Queen Elizabeth Hospital], UWI [University of the West  Indies] and the Transport Board.  
“On current trend, the Minister of Finance indicated that Government would have to continue borrowing heavily in the domestic capital market to make up the financial gap at the risk of further hamorrhaging of the country’s foreign reserves,” the BCCI noted.
The chamber said it deeply regretted that 3 000 public sector workers would have to be laid off as a result and wondered whether much earlier intervention would have mitigated or averted this situation.
“In any event, the implications would invariably be far-reaching for the private sector as well since there is likely to be further reduction in already depressed demand for goods and services,” the release stated.  (NB/PR)