Construction projects must get off the ground: Straughn

THE start of large construction projects on the island will spell an ease for households and businesses.

Minister in the Ministry of Finance, Ryan Straughn, outlined since working on stabilising the economy over the last 20 months, Government’s anticipations were that 2020 would see “an acceleration of the implementation of the reforms at the macro level” and stressed the unlocking of growth would be critical for Barbadians to see benefits.

Speaking on a call-in programme on Monday, Straughn highlighted that critical to the island’s growth was the need for infrastructural projects to get off the ground and consumption patterns to change to where households and businesses spent more.

He said this was one of the reasons behind Government’s payment of tax refunds.

“The circumstance that individual households and individuals find themselves in is that, like the Government, as we are paying persons now and trying to do so in an accelerated fashion, persons are in a situation where they are paying down some of the debt they have within their personal circumstances and within their household and business circumstances. Therefore, we are not seeing as yet new consumption, new investment, and certainly that could not have happened over the last 20 months, simply because of the nature we had to unravel Government’s link in all of that,” he added.

Straughn noted, “Domestically, there is a level of stability that allows businesses and individuals to plan. Therefore, as the Government gets itself right with the people and the public by repaying the arrears that were built up over the last ten years, I anticipate that the position of businesses and households in this country will change over the next two years.”

Speaking on the upcoming Estimates debate, Straughn highlighted Government’s savings of $1.2 billion for 2019. He admitted while this had been achieved through debt restructuring, that it had been done with the aim of shielding families from “the full brunt of the entire restructuring of Government’s financing”. (JMB)

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