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ON THE LEFT: More competitiveness in the global market


AMBASSADOR MIKAEL BARFOD

ON THE LEFT: More competitiveness in the global market

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WE ARE GENERALLY VERY PLEASED with the implementation of the policy related aspects of the Barbados Human Resource Development Programme with the Ministry of Labour, particularly over the past year, I would say.

We note that the National Qualifications Framework and the National Qualifications Register have now been completed. They will in fact provide what I would call relevance and currency to a quality Barbadian education, while allowing also global mobility to Barbadian citizens. And this will allow citizens, hopefully, to capitalise on some of the benefits of the European Economic Partnership Agreement. Similarly, we note that the Knowledge Management and Interoperability Framework are also completed and once we have implemented this the framework will allow the country to be more actively and more effectively engaged in evidence based decision making – a very vital strategy for management of small island developing states.

We believe that the importance of the human resource policy cannot be over-emphasised, the true success story of the policy will be measured by the progress of the Barbadian people. In this regard, we are especially satisfied with the level of training and retooling undertaken in the last financial year and that is, of course, something that is particularly important when the economic crisis has been around the corner. We have seen that in areas such as entrepreneurship, knowledge management and specific human resource development related areas. There is still some room for improvement in the training of persons, we believe, in the agricultural sector and also in emerging sectors such as renewable energy, and the whole issue of the green economy and creative industries.

This is a new thrust in the human resource development area and it’s very vital in order to improve labour productivity and competitiveness and we believe that is essential in order for you to move ahead with your growth strategy in this country in the medium and long term. So we recognise in general terms that the country remains at a critical juncture in macroeconomic outlook. Great efforts have gone into stabilising the economy in the short to medium term but the economy is not quite out of the woods yet. 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, which the Government is, of course, fully aware of.

To this end, we will continue to follow up the progress in the implementation of the Medium Term Growth And Development Strategy by the Government of Barbados. This will require reinforced policy dialogue with the Government, I think that we are already doing well but we can perhaps do even better, in particular concerning further efforts in the implementation of its fiscal consolidation programme, including ways to improve the targetting and effectiveness of social services, the introduction of revenue measures, as well as the ongoing strengthening oversight and structural reform of publice enterprises, which is very important.

Moreover, particular emphasis will be given to the implementation of private investment projects and improving the conditions of these.

Ambassador Mikael Barfod is Head of Delegation of the European Union to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean.

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