Despite the various challenges confronting Barbados, Minister of Finance, Christopher Sinckler, is reminding citizens that “we still have a fundamentally good economy”.
Mr. Sinckler made the comments yesterday at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre during the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s luncheon, themed: Sit Down with the Business Community.
The Minister told his audience: “Our tourism sector has shown and is showing amazing resilience, and is once again growing at healthy and even record levels. It is still one of the most attractive and indeed competitive products in world tourism. Our international business and financial services sector, though faced with immense and ongoing challenges from very powerful interests across the world, is still rated as one of the best regulated and most attractive domiciles in this or any other hemisphere in the world….
“Our dollar remains stable even in a world of currency volatility and it shall remain so for several generations to come. Our foreign reserve levels are adequate to defend our currency and will continue to improve going forward. We are confident about that,” he remarked.
He disclosed that the Central Bank would issue its third quarter report in less than two weeks, which would discuss those matters fully, including the continuation of positive economic growth in the economy. Mr. Sinckler pointed out that Barbados was quickly becoming a leader in transforming into a green economy, and in promoting renewable and alternative energy systems.
He added that the country had a vibrant, willing and capable, if yet constrained, Small and Medium-sized (SME)/Entrepreneurial Sector, which “is anxiously waiting to be unleashed on a deserving society, hungry for innovative ideas and thirsty for new sustainable job creation”.
He proffered the view that Barbados was at a crossroads in its development thrust. “Many of the things on which we relied and on which this country was built have either been removed or significantly reduced. We no longer enjoy preferential access to large, inviting markets in Europe, the UK, Canada and the USA, just as we can no longer expect to be paid above market prices for our inefficiencies in production of our exports. Those days are over…,” he contended.
The Minister stressed that the country must finance its own development from its own earnings and savings or from expensive borrowings in the open capital market.
However, Mr. Sinckler said he was “resolutely confident” in the capacity and will of the Government and people of Barbados to overcome challenges and seize those opportunities that present themselves.