by Sharon Austin Feedback is currently being received on this island’s draft Medium-Term Growth and Development Strategy 2013 – 2020, and it is hoped that the document would be completed in time for laying in Parliament with the Financial and Economic Policy Statement, scheduled for mid-August 2013. This disclosure has come from Director of the Research and Planning Unit of the Division of Economic Affairs, Patrick McCaskie, who said the document was presented at the recently held National Consultation on the Economy. McCaskie added: “We received some feedback at the consultation, and following that, we sent the document to all of the ministries, through the permanent secretaries, to select Heads of Departments and also the Central Bank of Barbados, to solicit further comments on it. “We are looking to complete this Strategy by the end of the first week in August 2013, so we gave Ministries a deadline of July 19 to make their submissions or comments, but we have not received as much feedback as we would have liked as yet. We will, therefore, be calling the Ministries and visiting them to ensure we obtain as much feedback as possible.” The director of research and planning disclosed that there would be follow-up meetings with some private sector representatives, labour and civil society organisations. The final version of Barbados’ Medium-Term Growth and Development Strategy 2013-2020 will be placed on the Economic Affairs Division’s website — www.economicaffairs.gov.bb — before the end of August 2013, so members of the public can access it. The Executive Summary of the Draft Medium-Term Growth and Development Strategy 2013-2020 explains that in response to the 2008 “severe and sustained global economic crisis”, Government rolled out a Medium-Term Development Strategy 2010-2014 and a Medium-Term Fiscal Strategy 2010-2014, in an effort to achieve economic stabilisation, adjustment and growth. However, the current MGDS 2013-2020 recognises, “as a point of departure, the need and urgency to jump start and sustain private sector and investment led, productivity and export-driven growth, based on an environmentally green and socially sustainable and equitable economy, while radically adjusting and reforming the Barbados economy”. McCaskie indicated that the document has been divided into seven chapters, and the final one describes the implementation of the Strategy. “Chapter Seven is seen as the most important one because we believe that implementation is the only way that we are going to achieve the vision, goals, objectives and strategies outlined in this document,” he explained. He pointed out that Chapter One reviews the economy of Barbados, looking at the economic performance of the real, fiscal, monetary and external sectors, while Chapter Two is a diagnostic analysis of the Barbadian Economy, showing a number of challenges and weaknesses, which serve as structural constraints to sustained growth and development. “Chapter Three speaks about the Medium Term Growth and Development Policy Framework, which means we look at what is happening in the international environment because we are an open economy and our performance depends on those of our major trading partners, such as the United States of America and the United Kingdom… We have set ourselves some growth targets, for example, we want to return Barbados to growth in excess of three per cent by 2017, and between 4 to 4.5 per cent by 2020. “The fiscal framework is also inclusive, which seeks to pursue fiscal consolidation measures to reduce the fiscal deficit. In addition, our objectives are to substantially reduce inflation and unemployment by 2020. We are also aiming to maintain our social safety net and to strategically plan our development and growth paradigm in the context of a green economy, in terms of achieving efficient resource use. “As stated earlier, this growth has to be private sector led because this is a private sector led growth strategy; hence the framework is underpinned by these elements. It is also investment driven, export led, and an eclectic-based growth model which will embrace other disciplines, not just economics, but human resource development, technological policy, strategic planning, and so on,” he noted. According to McCaskie, Chapter Four is the fiscal adjustment strategy and it broadly outlines how the deficit would be brought down, while Chapter Five deals with the growth and adjustment strategy, examining the various sectoral strategies. “We are also looking at some special adjustments and reforms that we have to undertake, if we are to achieve growth in a more efficient form by treating to competitiveness, productivity and service excellence; transformation to a green economy; labour market reform and human resource development; business facilitation; and justice and legislative reform,” the Director disclosed. He said Chapter Six looks at Human and Social Development issues, namely poverty reduction, education and training, health care, gender, population, youth development, the elderly, persons with disabilities, law and order, community development and economic empowerment. “These are all areas that are very important because we are trying to establish a balanced development strategy, as we seek to grow. While we are growing, we want to ensure that development is occurring simultaneously,” he insisted. So, it is hoped that this Draft Medium-Term Growth and Development Strategy 2013-2020, which has as its theme — Adjustment, Reform, Recovery and Sustainability — as well as the other Government-led initiatives, will put Barbados on that path which must be followed to achieve the desired broad, national vision.
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