Barbadians should prepare to face another three years of economic recession.
That’s the prediction from the head of one of Barbados’ oldest corporate entities, which has expanded into the Caribbean and beyond in recent years.
But Sagicor Financial Corporation President and Chief Executive Officer, Dodridge Miller, thinks if the Freundel Stuart Administration “implements what it says it will do” there would be “some benefit for the economy and for Barbadians in general”.
The executive gave that outlook this morning while updating the media on Sagicor’s financial performance for the first half of this year via video conference from Trinidad.
Miller, who has been in the private sector for several years, said he expected slow growth here and elsewhere in the region in the next few years, but appeared comforted that regional governments now seemed to be taking the necessary steps to fix their economies.
“In terms of my expectations for growth in the near future for the Caribbean governments, I believe that the Caribbean will be in recession for a couple more years, probably another two or three years and where there is growth it will be slow growth,” he said.
“But I think the governments have now recognised that there are some things that we need to do and they seem committed to making changes and we are optimistic that over the medium term we will start to see the improvements in the economies.”
Asked about the measures announced by Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler in last week’s Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals, Miller responded:
“I have been away and I haven’t studied the Budget in any detail, but I think I understand what’s the strategy behind the Budget and I think if the Government implements what it says it will do then we will see some benefit for the economy and for Barbadians in general.”
While forecasting two to three more years of recession, though, the Sagicor boss said his company continued to have confidence in the Barbados economy and the others in region where it had businesses, including the Eastern Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica.
“We have been through this before and we have not lost confidence in the economies. We continue to work closely with governments where we are allowed to do so and we believe that they will do the things that are required to restore growth to the economies,” he said.
“It’s been a difficult couple of years for the global economy, not just the Caribbean, and some of the issues that have had to be dealt with were unprecedented, even if not unforeseen.”
Having taken over the Eastern Caribbean operations of British American Insurance Company, Miller said he did not foresee and other significant opportunities for growth in the short to medium term.
“We have just taken on 18,000 policies of British American in the Eastern Caribbean, that’s growth for us. We continue to look for opportunities in other Caribbean island as well, we have increased our agents both in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean,” he said
We see the growth is largely going to be organic for the next couple of years in the Caribbean until the economies themselves start to show some growth.”
This morning he reported that Sagicor’s Caribbean operations continued to performed well, recording growth in revenue and net income in the first two quarters of 2013. (SC)