Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados Dr DeLisle Worrell is warning Barbadians not to expect any quick fix to the struggling economy.
In addition, Worrell has cautioned that there would be no major turnaround in the economy in the short term despite a number of corrective measures currently in place. Saying the island was not on autopilot, Worrell said the fixing of the fiscal challenges was an ongoing process and “every day” the island’s economic team overseeing the islands economic activities were keeping a close eye on things.
“And if we see that things are going out of whack we take direct action. So I don’t have to speculate, we watch and observe and we take action,” he said.
Worrell was responding to questions from reporters during a media conference today to discuss the first quarter performance of the Barbados economy. The senior economist said if current measures were not producing positive results then the Government’s economic team, which monitor economic activities everyday, would take the necessary decisions.
“I need to remind everybody that this economy does not run on autopilot. We make a plan and then we see how things evolve. And if we are on schedule then no problem. If we are not on schedule then we make adjustments,” he added.
And while economic activities fell by 0.4 per cent for the first quarter of 2014, Worrell said: “Actually, the economy is performing as we expected.
“I have been stressing that it does not make sense for us to go for quick fixes for the economy. What we have is a medium term growth strategy. Remember the fundamentals . . . to grow our economy we have to earn more foreign exchange. To earn more foreign exchange we have to increase our productivity [and] the quality of the foreign exchange earning sectors. That is a process that is underway,” said Worrell.
He said the performance was not expected to be spectacular because the Government was seeking sustainable benefits with a focus on maintaining foreign exchange levels while balancing revenue and expenditure.
Worrell gave the assurance that the short fall in revenue for last year was being addressed through additional raising measures, including the restructuring of the revenue administration through the creation of the Barbados Revenue Authority.
“We are not looking for instant gratification,” said Worrell.
“There are going to be obstacles in the way. Success comes from overcoming the obstacles. We have put measures in place and those measures are being implemented with resolution and the consensus of the country,” he said, adding that international observers were impressed that as the public service was being cut by approximately ten per cent there were no protests.
He said Barbados was not too proud to seek assistance to address the island’s weaknesses, and as such, has secured assistance form the IDB, the Caribbean Assistance Technical Centre (CARTAC), the IMF and others to improve public sector performance and secure adequate finance at affordable terms for entrepreneurs.