Governor seeking stakeholders’ help
Labour and the private sector must join other stakeholders to help raise Barbados’ national credit rating.
That call from Central Bank Governor Cleviston Haynes comes against the backdrop of forecasts which do not show any acceleration of the one per cent growth recorded in 2017 for this year.
He was speaking during the launch of the 2018 Week of Excellence at the Courtney Blackman Grande Salle of the Central Bank yesterday.
“We can and must reverse this narrative by strengthening the macroeconomic framework through further prompt decisive corrective action that facilitates a rebuilding of the country’s international reserves, engenders renewed confidence by domestic and foreign investors, bolsters private sector investment and infrastructural development, and raises the overall level of economic activity.
“Achieving these objectives should have a favourable impact on our national credit rating. But reversing this narrative also requires the commitment and focus of all stakeholders, including labour and the private sector,” Haynes told the gathering.
The Governor said the level of productivity in Barbados was not up to par, but he praised the Social Partners for the continued focus on productivity and promoting excellence.
“The Barbados economy operates in a globalised environment and, given our heavy reliance on the export of goods and services, high levels of productivity and service quality are required to enable our firms to penetrate external markets, generate foreign exchange earnings, create jobs and enhance overall economic activity.
“Reinforcing the message of the importance of raising productivity levels is paramount as it is very easy for standards to slip. Despite our best efforts, I do not believe that our productivity and service levels are where we would want them to be, particularly in an environment in which our competitors are also trying to raise their standards. We ignore this fact at our own peril,” he pointed out.
Among the things Haynes felt could contribute to changing the country’s economic narrative was to create greater levels of foreign investment, which would mean improving Barbados’ current ranking of 132 out of 190 countries for ease of doing business.
He also encouraged public and private companies to change their business models, be more innovative and make use of the technology. Retooling of workers was also important, he added.
“By investing in the raising of the knowledge, skills and abilities of workers, firms can develop workers who can operate at a higher level, thereby raising the national output of our economy. Let us not forget that well-managed firms have higher productivity. Raising skill levels in one firm can have positive spillovers onto others.” (YB)