BLP responds to Central Bank review
THE OPPOSITION BARBADOS Labour Party says Barbadians can take little comfort from the Central Bank of Barbados’ latest review of the economy.
In a release issued yesterday, the bank said the economy grew by 1.3 per cent in the first six months of the year.
However, the BLP’s Christ Church East Central candidate, economist Ryan Straughn, said the party has absolutely no confidence in the ability of Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, Finance Minister Chris Sinckler and Central Bank governor Dr DeLisle Worrell to run the country’s affairs.
Below is a statement issued by Straughn on behalf of the party.
There are three simple facts that ought to stand out in the minds of Barbadians from the Central Bank’s economic release for the first half of 2016.
The net effect of this report is that ordinary Barbadians who run their households and businesses can take little comfort from its contents that progress has been made after enduring 31 months of the Freundel Stuart administration’s Home Grown Fiscal Stabilisation and Economic Revitalisation Programme. The success of the “fiscal consolidation” programme has been well trumpeted by the Minister of Finance and other members of the governments during the debate on the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for 2016/2017.
However, Barbadians may recall that on April 1, 2016 the ratings agency Moody’s downgraded Barbados to Caa1 on the basis of their estimate of the fiscal deficit of 5.5 per cent of GDP for fiscal year 2015/2016. This latest central bank report now indicates that the “true” fiscal deficit was in fact approximately 7.4 per cent of GDP, almost two per cent worse that initially estimated by Moody’s. On top of this realisation the report also says that the government has increased its deficit for the first quarter of this fiscal year 2016/2017. So much for the success of the fiscal consolidation exercise imposed on Barbadians previously.
The Barbados Labour Party would like to ask Barbadians the following questions.
What was the point of the fiscal consolidation programme imposed on Barbadian if the government was going to continue its reckless spending programmes?
What was the point of both the Minister of Finance and Governor of the Central Bank emphasising the need to protect the Barbados dollar from devaluation when for the first six months of 2016 the central bank has printed $300 million and lent to government?
The announcement by the governor that foreign exchange outflows will be tightened by measures to be announced in the forthcoming budget has already sent off alarm bells across the Barbadian landscape.
Citizens have openly questioned the results of the latest labour force survey and having read this central bank report will have even more questions that certainly demands serious answers. The fact that the Governor of the Central Bank has deliberately used Moody’s estimate of the fiscal deficit on which to base Barbados’ economic outlook and not its own estimate is simply remarkable and calls into question the credibility of the whole exercise.
The Barbados Labour Party maintains that we have absolutely no confidence in Freundel Stuart, Chris Sinckler nor Delisle Worrell when it comes to the management of Barbados’ economic and financial affairs. (PR)