Tom Hall, CEO of Williams Industries Inc. at the Barbados Employers’ Confederation AGM and Luncheon 2018 entitled, ‘The Path Back to Prosperity’ at Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

‘Path Back to Prosperity’

CEO of Williams Industries Inc., Tom Hall, has suggested that Barbados needs to give more attention to the areas of anti-corruption legislation, financial transparency in the public sector and de-risking the Barbados currency on the path to prosperity.

He was speaking recently at the Barbados Employers’ Confederation (BEC) AGM and Luncheon 2018 entitled, ‘The Path Back to Prosperity’ at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre. In his assessment, he explained, “In terms of the Anti-corruption legislation, the Act has gone through Parliament and should come into effect in June. From what I have heard, if that happens that will be an excellent first step. I hear it is not a perfect Act, but it is important for the influential bodies such as the BEC to focus on the Anti-corruption legislation because it is the biggest drive an economy can have. If it slips down the corruption route, it hurts the young, the future generations and it hurts the poor way more than the rest of the society.”

He continued, “Because the public sector in Barbados is a large one, it needs financial transparency around it. I would suggest that two years from the Election Day, all state-owned enterprises should have their audited accounts up to date. I know some may say this is impossible, I have spoken to a few accountants and it would be a colossal multilayer headache to get that done, but it is achievable. If you can come to a point in 2020 that you have a snapshot signed off by one of the big accountants that this is the state of affairs of that place, then by the next year you will have an accurate view of how those enterprises have spent the taxpayers’ money. At Williams, we can’t run all of these companies without up-to-date financial information. We care about profit in the private sector mainly, but state-owned enterprises is less of a profit function, but it still uses capital and needs to be directed efficiently.”

Hall indicated, “The root cause of a lot of the problems we are facing here in Barbados is that the currency of the Barbados dollar is extremely illiquid and it is not functioning as a unit of exchange at the moment. Money is a unit of exchange and there are many good reasons we have it peg two to one and it has done us very well in the past, but once the election environment goes away there should be a sensible discussion about the best currency for us or how the Barbados dollar can become great again. At the moment, there is a wall of International money that would consider Barbados a main face for the region, yes Barbados does have its challenges, but things function in general. I think Barbados would take off if we could just de-risk that currency.” (NB)

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