Noted regional economist Marla Dukharan has forecast a positive outlook for the Barbadian economy this year.
In her 2020 Caribbean Economic Outlook released today, Dukharan said even though the economy shrank again last year, linked to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) supported reforms, Barbados can expect growth of about 1.8 per cent over the next four years.
“But we will likely see growth this year, albeit at a weak pace not exceeding 1.8 per cent through 2024 as predicted by the IMF,” said the Trinidad and Tobago-based economist.
She also said this country was on track to achieving its target of a primary fiscal surplus of six per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) this year as part of the Barbados Economic Reform and Transformation (BERT) programme with the Fund.
Dukharan praised Barbados for its decision to reform state-owned enterprises which she said is a key move to achieving the fiscal outturn and fiscal sustainability the island needs.
But the economist expressed concern about rising unemployment and the relatively weak construction industry and investment.
Dukharan said: “We need to see further pro-competitiveness and pro-doing business reforms in order to reverse that weak construction and investment that we are seeing.”
She noted that the size of the construction industry was about 20 per cent smaller last year than it was on average between 2006 and 2015.
“So the construction sector has somewhere to go in order to get back to where it used to be,” Dukharan declared.
She said stayover arrivals through September 2019 were up 4.2 per cent year over year, accelerating over the 2018 number.
Dukharan’s outlook said: “This is expected to increase further this year based partially on an initiative called We Gatherin’, which is looking to attract the Barbadian diaspora and their friends and families.
“So all in all Barbados is meeting its targets under the BERT programme and we are expecting to see the positive results of these reforms bearing fruit this year 2020 and beyond for Barbados.”