With just days to go before the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) Government celebrates its first year in office, Minister in the Ministry of Finance, Ryan Straughn, says he is more than satisfied with the administration’s performance thus far.
According to Straughn, the Mia Mottley-led administration had accomplished most of its targets for the first year in office.
“The last 11 months were about stabilization and what we have done as a Government was to provide that stabilization so that the operation now can begin. This is the reason we are telling Barbadians to stay the course because we have achieved a level of stability and the reforms that are to be done. We can focus on the nitty gritty matters that have been plaguing the country for such a long time,” Straughn said in an interview with Barbados TODAY.
Listing the domestic debt restructuring as well as the stabilization of the dollar and the foreign reserves, among the hallmarks of the first year in office, the Minister made it clear that the country is by no means out of the woods yet.
“Things are relatively stable. Persons are no longer concerned about the integrity of the foreign exchange rate; our foreign reserves situation has certainly improved, and we have restructured the domestic debt which was literally choking us,” he said, while urging Barbadians to keep faith with the party.
In his update last week on the island’s economic performance, Central Bank Governor Cleviston Haynes, while calling for patience, pointed out several positive indicators, which suggested that Government’s efforts at stabilization were effective. Haynes said the macroeconomic environment continued to recover during the first quarter of this year as Government focused on implementing the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) programme.
His report suggested that Government’s suite of tax measures seem to be reaping dividends, with an overall revenue yield of almost $3 billion for the fiscal year ending March 31. He further revealed that Government also managed to contain the fiscal deficit to 0.3 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) by the end of March, exclusive of interest payments.
However, Straughn cautioned Barbadians not to get carried away with the new signs of economic life. He noted that while he expects confidence to return, he wants people to bear in mind that there are still major issues to be addressed.