Projects must be viable
Sun, 03/27/2016 - 5:08pm
A VIABLE capital works programmes will constitute part of the country’s way out of the economic challenges being faced.
This is the view of economist Ryan Straughn, who told the media during a recent press conference that it is not so much the construction which he said must be driven almost by private sector investment, but the actual operation of the projects on completion that will tell the full tale of their economic contribution.
“Whatever project – large, small medium – whether it is Sam Lord’s or any other project, it has to go through the construction phase, and then open and be operational. I am suggesting that the way forward is not to start building stuff, it is to make sure you can complete it, get it operationalised so that you can start to earn some foreign exchange from it,” he said.
“Because at the end of the day we are not able to see the investment reach the average guy in the street, the mason, the plumber and their families, then it would be all for naught. Because you can build buildings … the clear example of that is the Grotto, it is built, but there is no one living there so there is no revenue stream from mortgages or rent coming in,” he charged.
Straughn, chosen to contest the Christ Church East Central seat on a BLP ticket, said Government must therefore be certain of the viability of these projects prior to construction. “So that at its conclusion, the purpose for which it was built would start to yield some benefits for which it was intended. That is the ethos for which any person running any organisation should seek to follow.”
A former President of the Barbados Economic Society, he also suggested that businesses and households need to be in a position where they can plan their affairs. “So any further taxation without necessarily seeing an improvement in the delivery of goods and services across the public sector, then we will not see any growth.”
Straughn stated that the growth in the economy has always been led by the private sector, which has been told to hold strain. He opined that there is only so much strain that sector can take. “I am suggesting that rather than use resources specifically to hold strain we need to encourage investment.” (JH)