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Barbados ‘getting there’

Ricky Jordan

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While the fiscal targets announced in the last Budget have not been reached so far, Barbados is slowly getting on track to meet them by March next year when Government’s 19-month fiscal adjustment programme ends.
According to a report on the 19-month Fiscal Adjustment Programme And Barbados’ Medium Term Growth And Development Strategy (MGDS) (2013-2020), which was made a document of the Lower House last week Tuesday, 30 of Government’s 58 budgetary policies have been implemented, including an additional ten policies started between January and March this year.
The 30 policies include reducing Government expenditure by $485 million and increasing revenue by $125 million in 2014-2015, three policies to boost the international business and financial sector, the agricultural programme to incentivise hotels to use more local produce, the passing of the Cultural Industries and Electric Light And Power bills, introduction of the Income Tax Amendment Bill, the $20 million Smart Energy fund, and tax concessions to erect solar electricity systems islandwide.
Policies implemented in the public sector include the freeze on hiring in the central Government service and acoss all statutory entities, the freeze on non-critical established posts not filled in the last six months, and the establishment of the Barbados Revenue Authority.
Policies in education feature the paying of tuition fees by University of the West Indies students from next semester; while those in tourism include US$50 million for hotel refurbishment and the reduction of Value Added Tax on accommodation in the hotel sector to 7.5 per cent, said the report which was produced by the Economic Affairs Division of the Ministry of Finance.
In the overall MGDS 2013-2020, where 459 strategic initiatives were identified, Government noted in the 15-page report that by March this year, 41 of these initiatives had been implemented.