A new study has revealed that the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies puts more direct foreign exchange earnings into the Treasury every year, than sugar and rum exports.
Coming against the backdrop of criticisms that the university was a drain on the Treasury, the research, conducted by a six-member team, found that the campus generated almost $87 million in foreign exchange last year, down from the estimated $89 million for 2012.
Chairman of the team and senior lecturer in the department of economics Dr Winston Moore told a media conference at the 3Ws Oval this morning, when this contribution is compared to foreign exchange income from sugar and rum exports for last year, Cave Hill outstrips each of them.
Dr Moore noted that sugar earned about $16 million last year, while rum brought in approximately $86 million.
He explained that the UWI uses Barbados dollars to produce US currency, through such things as projects incomes, tuition fees and visitors to the campus.
“When you look at the sources of our income . . . dispelling one of those myths that are out there. One of the things that you always hear is that the campus itself is primarily dependent on Government’s contribution. But . . . project income actually accounts for almost 22 per cent of the income that we generate here at Cave Hill Campus; and we also have commercial and investment income as well. Then we also have a small component coming through tuition fees,” the senior lecturer in economics pointed out.
He said when calculating the value added of education institutions such as the University, the basic way to do that was sum the wage costs and the service of operations, before depreciation and interests costs.
“So what you have here is the direct economic contribution of the campus to the Barbados economy between 2009 and 2013 as a percentage of GDP. And you can see that in 2009, when the campus accounted for about 1.7 per cent of GDP, we’ve grown in 2012 to about just over two per cent, but unfortunately due to our cost-cutting activities, it’s just about fallen back just below that two per cent,” Dr Moore disclosed.
“So on average,” he continued,”the campus makes a direct contribution to economic activity, of about two per cent in any given year. Now this is just the direct contribution, you still have to take into account, the indirect contribution. Between 2009 and 2011, we were generating about $30 million for businesses in Barbados. So every time we purchases a paper, every time we hired a transport vehicle, when we have conferences; those type of activities account for approximately $30 million between 2009 and 2011.”
The survey found, too, that direct and indirect gross value added generated by Cave Hill Campus, between 2009 and 2013, stood at just over $200 million.
The study, entitled The Impact of the University of the West Indies – Cave Hill Campus on the Economy of Barbados. further discovered that the campus pushes about $56 million directly into the Treasury annually through PAYE and VAT.
“This is the number that I get. Just under $56 million in PAYE, NIS and Value Added Tax contributions,” he said.
“And looking at the Cave Hill campus, it would probably be one of the few institutions in Barbados where their employees would actually increase their conrtibutions to government revenues. Most companies are reducing the payroll, but because of the type of products we produce, where we spend on services we have to maintain, you are seeing that we are actually increasing our contribution to tax, rather than reducing our contribution to the tax revenue to Barbados.”
With respect to employment at the campus, the survey revealed that the institution depends on a total of 1,184 full time and part time persons, which account for 1.7 per cent of the entire education industry in the country.
While there are aspects which can be measured, Dr Moore observed that other areas, such as cultural and social contribution, could not be quantified.