Economist Ryan Straughn has recommended a “viable” capital works programme as a way out of the economic malaise affecting Barbados.
However, he warned that projects “must be converted to new revenue streams” if the country is to earn the required foreign exchange.
Straughn today charged that Barbados lacked economic direction and he urged the Freundel Stuart administration to act appropriately in order to restore people’s confidence.
The Barbados Labour Party candidate for Christ Church East Central contended that after five years of sacrifices Barbadians were no better off. Instead, he suggested, all they had to show for their sacrifices was a ballooning deficit.
“The fact that we are having discussions about the size of the deficit should be a concern to all Barbadians. The latest set of numbers being produced here suggest that the deficit is going in the other direction. After five years of fiscal consolidation we should not have a discussion about deficit reduction,” Straughn said today while speaking to reporters at the offices of the Leader of the Opposition on the recently released 2016-2017 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure.
“The reality of the situation is that businesses and households need to be in a position where they can plan their affairs. The only alternative is to ensure that there is broad-based growth in the economy.”
The former president of the Barbados Economic Society urged the administration to cut expenditure, get out of the way and allow the private sector to lead the recovery.
“Growth in the economy has always been led by the private sector and the reality of the situation is they are feeling the pinch now. The reason why the private sector is feeling it now is because at the beginning of the crisis they were asked to hold strain, but there is only so much strain you can hold without it returning to impact on you down the road.
“The level of certainty that you would expect for growth to take place is simply not there. The point is that every year there is another impost,” he contended.