There is a need to improve labour productivity throughout the economy. A gap has opened up between the cost of labour and the productivity of the average worker over the past two decades – Governor Delisle Worrell
The Governor of the Central Bank […]has decided in his infinite wisdom the best approach to communicate with Barbadians is through press releases. Even more disturbing has been the low keyed reaction by individuals and other stakeholders to concerns expressed by Worrell in his statement placed in the local press last weekend.
Two points to note from Worrell’s press release:
Barbadian workers must produce more if we are to maintain the current cost base and;
Government will need to borrow to finance the deficit. (This is not good news given our junk status.)
Barbadians will need to engage in an honest conversation about the state of the economy and what is required to shift from its current path. It is evident to those of us who have the capacity to filter the truth that occasionally escapes the mouths of officials, our economy continues to be under distress. We have seen growth in tourism numbers, some reduction in government expenditure but a lacklustre approach to stimulating growth especially in the export sector. The issue the government and relevant private sector agencies need to honestly discuss is what structural changes are required to sustain the lifestyle we aspire. There is the touted social partnership which seems a good place to begin the conversation.
After 7 years of austerity we must ask ourselves if we are on the right path. Are we seeing a country firing on all cylinders driven by a shared position? Are we seeing a country tapping on our education capital fuelled by the billions invested in the sector post Independence? What BU sees is a fractious government comprised of a garrulous lot who have failed to lead at a time when the ability to collaborate to promote a conciliatory tone is required. There is been no change to our governance structure to address transparency in government and by extension private sector. There has been no change to redesign our education system to make it more relevant to local and domestic needs to be competitive. There has been no effort to aggressively modernize the public sector by integrating technology and performance management systems to improve productivity and efficiency. And no amalgamation of statutory boards does not frontally address the issue. There has been no significant improvement to improve the standard of transportation delivery by eradicating the sub culture …
The social and economic ‘wellbeing’ of Barbados is under threat while we continue to be engaged in irrelevant political diatribe. For the first time in his tenure the Governor appears to want to lead a narrative which points to the real issues confronting Barbados. The improvement in tourism is not relevant if we are debating what needs to change structurally to propel sustained social and economic growth/development in Barbados. Our debt burden has assumed daunting proportion which gives the country little fiscal space for the government to drive the economy. The government has reached a point where savings bonds are being issued to pay tax refunds. Barbadians should be ever so concerned.