Barbadians have been warned about setting their expectations too high as Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Chris Sinckler gets ready to deliver Government’s Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals this week.
Former chairman of the Barbados Private Sector Organisation Alex McDonald suggests the Minister of Finance is caught between a rock and hard place, especially in light of the upcoming general election, constitutionally due within the next year.
“It seems as if you have an embattled Minister struggling to put together a coalition of the willing, dealing with an economy which he has said is challenging [and] a global assessment which is downgraded, and a Prime Minister wh0 has said that doesn’t mean a lot, we are still going on,” McDonald said on Sunday’s Starcom Network’s Down to Brass Tacks programme.
“You are operating for the first time, in my memory, where there have been very sharp criticisms from within the Cabinet itself about the direction of policy. [This is] compounded with apparently a sharp split between a Governor of the Central Bank and the Minister of Finance over policy.”
Tuesday, May 30, is Budget Day with Sinckler set to make his presentation at 4 p.m.
Leader of the Opposition Mia Mottley is expected to reply the following day, Wednesday, May 31, at the same time.
The debate on the Budget will commence immediately after and conclude on Thursday, June 1.
Given the current circumstances, McDonald said how the Minister navigates in this Budget prior to an election will be interesting to see.
“The reason that the politics of the issue has become an issue is because it is not the first budget that you are delivering in your term. It’s not the second, it’s not the third.
“By the time you get to your fourth or your fifth budget it becomes a political issue, which is how you are positioning yourself to win a Government and if the budget is a stringent one it sends a signal as to what your analysis is of your chances and of the depth of trouble that your economy is in,” McDonald added.