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‘Damning’ report by Central Bank

ALBERT BRANDFORD, [email protected]

‘Damning’ report by Central Bank

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Barbados Labour Party (BLP) advisor on the economy, Dr Clyde Mascoll, has described the Central Bank’s first quarter 2018 report, released yesterday showing a 0.7 per cent contraction rather than the predicted 0.5 per cent growth, as “damning”.

“The growth is negative; unemployment is rising; the foreign reserves are flat; the rate of inflation has doubled; the fiscal target was not achieved, and the debt continues to climb,” he said.

“The latter is consistent with the fears expressed in the Front Page Editorial in the Wednesday NATION of December 13, 2017 which noted that ‘a frightening pattern is emerging with respect to the solutions Government is pursuing to shore up our depleted foreign reserves. We suspect that even more desperate efforts will be made as general elections become more imminent’.”

The economist recalled Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler predicting in the 2017 Budget the economy would decline because of the National Social Responsibility Levy’s rate being increased from two to ten per cent.

“This is one forecast he has got right in a decade.”

Mascoll said unemployment was rising as a consequence of the economic decline, while youth unemployment continued to be problematic. (AB)