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Economy not yet ‘past the worst’, says Sinckler

SHAWN CUMBERBATCH, [email protected]

Economy not yet ‘past the worst’, says Sinckler

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BARBADOS IS STILL not “out of the woods” so Government has no intention of easing its fiscal measures until the economy is “past the worst”.

Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler made this clear this morning as he formally received a $17.07 million grant from the European Union (EU) as part of its continuing support for Barbados Human Resource Development Programme.

Speaking during the ceremony at the Economic Affairs Division, Sinckler said Barbados had been “traversing a fairly difficult economic space …for the last six years or so following on from the very turbulent and damaging global financial crisis and the subsequent recession”.

However, he added that while economies including Barbados had “fought to rebuild our stability and have achieved some success in relation to that”, officials were “also mindful of the fact that we are not yet out of the woods . . . certainly we have not passed the worst”.

“And in the context of that it is said that a recession is always a bad thing to waste and our intention as government is not to do so, it is to seize the opportunity to do fundamental change of the Barbados economy and this includes a number of areas; to stabilize our foreign reserves, to reduce our fiscal deficit to more management levels, of course to get our debt to a downward trajectory over the medium term,” he said.

 “We haven’t achieved all of our targets as yet, there are some targets that are more medium term and we are working towards those, but to the extent that we can say that progress has been achieved we are happy that sufficient has been done to allow for this tranche to be released.”

Ambassador Mikael Barfod, head of the delegation of the European Union to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, said Barbados “remains at a critical juncture in its macroeconomic outlook” and that “it is critical to implement measures to maintain the stability of the economy, since significant risk of financial distress exists unless stronger growth materialises in the medium term”. (SC)