Prime Minister Mia Mottley says details on the planned reform of the state-owned enterprises (SOE) is not yet ready for dissemination.
Defending her decision not to reveal the details behind the plan Mottley said, “There is no doubt that there has to be reform, and we have not hidden what must happen with respect to it. We have been in discussions, some more advanced than others, some just starting with the unions.”
In her wrap-up of the 2023 Budget debate the Prime Minister also added, “I am not for the sake of politics, or a positive comment, going to come in here and disrespect our partners in labour in the social partnership, and tell you and the country things that are not ripe. Things that are not yet completed,” she said on Thursday evening.
Mottley was responding to the criticism from some quarters that not enough information was revealed on the current state of SOE reform being planned.
Earlier in the day during a Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s post-Budget panel discussion at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Economist Professor Justin Robinson expressed his concern with the lack of detail shared in the Budgetary Statement last Tuesday given that the state of SOEs on the island has been a recurring point of concern for many years.
“I applaud the movement towards new sectors, new catalysts for growth, but I found they were sadly lacking in terms of detail. One of the other immediate challenges is [that] we are well into BERT 2, the second phase of our IMF programme… it has two central planks really, growth and the reform of the state-owned enterprises.
“Again I found the details on that quite disappointing, given that that has been a live issue for several years, and there is a degree of immediacy around that. That is not futuristic, that is something that needs to be tackled more towards the short, rather than the medium-term,” he explained.
Mottley however called on Barbadians to be patient, stressing that the present administration was seeking to allow the process of discussions between trade unions and government to play out smoothly without premature comments.
“I ask the country for the opportunity to allow us to address you, in a way that will not disrupt the process, because Barbados cannot afford to get this issue of state-owned enterprises wrong.”