The local private sector has placed the state of the economy at the top of its priority list for the re-elected government to urgently tackle, as it expresses “tremendous” concern over the island’s growth trajectory.
Chairman of the Barbados Private Sector Association (BPSA), Trisha Tannis said on Monday that her umbrella agency is keen to sit down with the Mia Mottey administration and discuss the growth strategy, given that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme was not just coming to an end this year, but that the country seemed to be under added pressure to deliver more buoyant fiscal surpluses.
With the naming of a new Cabinet by Prime Minister Mottley today, following her Barbados Labour Party’s (BLP) clean sweep at last Wednesday’s general election, Tannis, whose agency represents no fewer than 10 member-organisations, said the private sector would want to know how the new government proposes to achieve improved fiscal surpluses.
“And not just know how it’s going to be done, but also to participate in the decision-making, to try to get the growth in the economy back on track in a sustainable way. We are also very, very keen to know what the response is going to be to the Global Minimum Tax which is supposed to come on stream in 2023 with a potential high-risk factor to our corporation tax revenue,” the private sector leader told Barbados TODAY.
“We would, of course, always want to know that the business association issues are front and centre, and digitization which the government has commenced, to some degree. However, we do think that we have a lot more to accomplish and more urgently now…very urgent, as it relates to the business facilitation climate and environment,” stated Tannis, whose members include the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association and the Barbados Employers’ Confederation.
The BPSA chair said the business community also has a keen interest in the ongoing management of the COVID-19 pandemic “so that we can avoid a national lockdown, but also still keep our country safe”.
Also on the private sector’s priority list, Tannis pointed out, is the island’s current COVID-19 testing regimen and how that will change with the existence of the highly-infectious Omicron variant and what still can be done by businesses to advance that.
“That is a top priority for us, but the economy is number one. The growth trajectory is of tremendous concern. It is taking quite a bit to get the construction projects off the ground. We are hoping for tourism…to deliver. But the bigger features in terms of diversification of the economy would be where our concerns are still very, very much,” she declared, adding, “Coming out of this pandemic with a much more resilient economy than we were in… those are the kinds of things we are really looking at,” the private sector spokesperson said.