The umbrella body for trade unions here is calling on the Mia Mottley administration to pick up the pace in jumpstarting long-delayed capital works projects.
The Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB) has warned the Government that the turnaround in the economy was “highly” dependent on investor confidence.
CTUSAB General Secretary Dennis De Peiza declared: “It is therefore imperative that there is a greater sense of urgency in bringing on stream the several projects identified more than a decade ago and the additional ones in the last year.”
Responding to the latest quarterly report published by Central Bank of Barbados Governor Cleviston Haynes, De Peiza also said it is not comforting news for Haynes to declare that preliminary data points to an expected lag in economic growth [which] leaves Barbados in recession.
The trade union leader said CTUSAB continues to promote the view that economic growth is paramount if the island is to advance to a state of fiscal and economic recovery.
“It is necessary that fiscal discipline and consolidation continue to be practiced, if the stability of the island’s economy is to be assured.”
“However, CTUSAB contends that the turnaround of the economy is highly dependent on the restoration of investor confidence.”
Turning his focus on the role of the business community to help improve the economy, De Peiza said that the trade union congress believes that the local business community “must accept the challenge to identify and invest in projects”.
He urged Government to inspire the growth initiative by engaging in public-private sector partnership projects.
Acknowledging that economic growth is priority, the congress is suggesting the convening of a national tripartite forum to discuss the next decade of growth. De Peiza suggested.
The forum would be require consensus on the specific areas for growth and a road map to sustainable growth in Barbados, the congress leader added.
The Central Bank revealed that the foreign exchange reserves now stood at $1.2 billion or 15.3 weeks of import cover.
It said that this position represents an increase of $204.2 million in the first half of 2019, and cumulative growth of $763.5 million in the past year.
But the reserves were boosted by a sharp drop in debt service payments after the Government suspended loan payments last year in a bid to renegotiate debt restructuring, coupled with the second drawdown from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for its economic recovery programme.
But the Central Bank also noted that the continued improvement in the reserves was caused in part by the greater availability of foreign exchange.