Business Monday: Position the Barbadian economy
IN Barbados, what has to be done is while you are going through the fiscal consolidation, providing you are getting the results you want, you have to be able to start positioning the economy to grow when that consolidation period is over.
This was the assessment made by Past President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Barbados (ICAB), David Simpson who believes repositioning the economy is not only dependent on the government but also on the private sector.
He told Business Monday, “The question is not where the growth areas are, we have identified areas such as tourism etc., but how do we see these growth areas materialise.
“We identified Tourism as a growth area, but we are a high priced destination, and there is constant competition. The tourism bodies are putting in work, but what else needs to be done… how [do] we increase tourism, not only in the busy time, but the slow period?
“We also talk about emerging areas or new areas, such as entertainment, renewable... but also what exactly are we doing to see growth? Retail is not going to bring the type of growth we need in Barbados. We need to drive the areas, we have identified and also look to new areas.”
Simpson also indicated, “Our people must be able to spend… in a tax environment which has been created to serve a purpose, in terms of reducing expenditure, etc.
“On the flip side, it is difficult to have growth in an environment where you are trying to contract the economy to control your reserves and other elements of fiscal consolidation.
“The government will fight any evaluation and rightly so – a devaluation is not something you want to experience. Trinidad has gone through several devaluations, and their goods are cheaper, but they manufacture a lot of things, thus sales will go up and the economy will grow. We don’t produce anything… we are heavy import.” (NB)