As the Mia Mottley administration prepares to present the latest Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for the upcoming fiscal year, Central Bank Governor Cleviston Haynes’ wish list is for major spending on infrastructure improvements and healthcare.
He said these areas were critical to the island’s continued development and its ability to attract investors and promote economic growth.
“I haven’t seen the expenditure plans as yet, but the idea going forward is that we need to be able to spend more on infrastructure as a mechanism in engendering future growth,” Haynes told reporters on Wednesday during a media conference to review the performance of the Barbados economy for the last calendar year.
“For me, the infrastructure is what Government wants to be able to get back to. In recent years we have really not spent a lot on infrastructure, and therefore we have to look at how do we rebuild our infrastructure because that is part of how we become a competitive economy,” he said.
He said that while the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) currently benefits from the new Health Service Contribution, over time continued funding for the overall healthcare system would be critical
“We are becoming an aging society with chronic ailments. Therefore we are going to need to spend more, but we have to try to spend more effectively also because we still have limited resources,” he pointed out.
“So the two things I would really want to place emphasis on are one, healthcare and two, infrastructure. Not necessarily in that order, but infrastructure is really critical for us,” he stressed.
The Governor also stated that education should remain a “very critical” area of Government spending, adding that focus should also continue to be on the tourism sector and other areas that would “help business in general to be able to grow”.
Haynes warned, however, that immediate improvements should not be expected with any Government spending in the healthcare system, infrastructure projects, education and other areas.
“I don’t want you to think of these things as one-year issues because everything doesn’t change in a year. So whether there is enough room in the current year to expand the infrastructure as rapidly as we would like, I am not sure,” he said. [email protected]