BRIDGETOWN: The Government of Barbados has announced that the Caribbean island’s economy is showing signs of growth.
While delivering the 2015-16 estimates of expenditure and revenue in Parliament earlier this week, Finance Minister Chris Sinckler said the home grown fiscal adjustment and stabilization program has started to show positive results. The economy has recorded growth of 0.3 per cent in 2014 and it should grow between one and two per cent this year.
“At the end of this current financial year the primary balance will improve from negative $385 million (one BDS dollar=US$0.50 cents) to a surplus of $56 million,” he said.
Sinckler told legislators it would mean that for the first time since 2011, Barbados is running a primary surplus.
“We are on our way to restoring the fiscal well-being of the country. This will provide further evidence that the home grown growth and adjustment program is working.
“Our confidence in ourselves and our faith in our ability as a nation on the verge of our 50th anniversary of (political) independence is evidence that we can craft policies in Barbados by ourselves albeit with technical assistance from others as all do,” he said.
Despite the positive news, Sinckler said the nation’s fiscal challenges are not over. He warned Barbadians that they would have to stay the course as outlined by the Freundel Stuart Freundel Stuart government for reviving the ailing economy.
“The job is far from over, we must stay the course, maintain our discipline and keep and extend the fiscal gains we are making in 2014 into the next financial year and beyond.
“As our economy returns to growth, the combination of robust growth and fiscal discipline argues well for our economic future,” said Sinckler, adding that the stabilization measures embarked upon by the government, including the decision to send home thousands of public servants, have helped to reduce the high wages bill.
Sinckler said the measures also protected the Barbados dollar from devaluation.
“The fiscal adjustment program has already shown success in attaining the preeminent objective of protecting the Barbados dollar and stabilizing the foreign exchange market,” he said.
Government’s total expenditure for the financial year 2015-2016 is expected to be within the vicinity of BDS$4.3 billion with BDS$3.02 billion going towards current expenditure while BDS$1.2 billion represents capital expenditure and amortization.