Barbados Private Sector Association Satisfied with Budget Statement

The Barbados Private Sector Association (BPSA) hailed the fiscal measures announced by Prime Minister Mia Mottley on Monday as “balanced”, also noting that she is “mindful of the economic and social challenges, particularly following the devastating impact of the coronavirus 2020 (COVID -19) pandemic.

“That there is some austerity in some of the measures is unsurprising, however, there are areas which will require further clarity and clarification to make a more reasonable assessment of their likely impact,” the Commission said. BPSA in a press release.

The government has announced a series of fiscal measures aimed at generating much-needed revenue, while providing some relief to Barbadians from rising prices caused by rising oil and commodity prices due to the ongoing military conflict. between Russia and Ukraine.

Prime Minister Mottley, in her first budget presentation since her ruling Barbados Labor Party (BLP) was returned to power in January, outlined a series of measures she said would protect Barbadians and share the burden and benefits over the next 12 months. .

In its press release, the BPSA specifies that as in past years, the regrouping of the private sector and by extension, the various sectors have had the possibility of submitting recommendations to the government in anticipation of the budget proposals and the financial statement.

“These recommendations were made in the context of the need to regenerate sectors in general and to support the country’s economic recovery and growth in a post-COVID-19 context.

“The private sector welcomes the agreement and the acceptance of some of our proposed measures, in particular the alleviation of the agricultural sector with the reduction of the water tariff for the farmers and the ease of the cash flow challenges for some operators in the hospitality and tourism sector.. While we await more details on some of the measures announced, the strategic focus on advancing the renewable energy sector, in particular the inclusion of households, is welcomed by the private sector. , as any new attempt to mitigate the rising cost of fuel is welcome.”

The BPSA said the cost of living relief measures are recognized and will benefit all.

“BPSA supports the ongoing effort to protect the most vulnerable in our society while taking into account the need to support young people and their development. Support for digitization in the small business sector is another accepted recommendation submitted by the private sector and demonstrates government’s recognition of the need to expand wealth creation in the economy. “

He said that all sectors appreciate the announcement of the capping of transport costs which are included in the calculation of import duties.

“The private sector has lobbied the government for such relief and we are pleased that the measure is viewed favorably. This measure, combined with the lower price of fuel to consumers, would, we hope, have a direct positive impact not only on the cost of living but also on the disposable income of households in such a way as to positively impact their power to purchase. Any gain will rebound in favor of promoting the growth of the economy. “

BPSA said it had taken note of the government’s reiteration of its intention to reform public enterprises (EPs) and was awaiting further details on the timelines for the planned reform.

“We believe that controlling spending, as well as efficient tax collection, could yield tangible benefits for the government’s overall financial position. We consider this reform as urgent and essential to end the dependence on transfers from the targeted entities and to stem budgetary leakages.

“We urge the government to adopt the guidance provided by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in formulating financial health targets and scorecards and to give rigorous attention to improving governance and reporting.”

The private sector said it also welcomed the proposed engagement within the social partnership, adding that “these discussions will not only provide clarity on the implementation of some of the measures, but will also provide the intended forum to discuss national debt, especially in light of the end of the current agreement with the IMF.

“Generally, however, the budget can be said to be balanced to protect the social safety net while encouraging key strategic areas of growth for the government, while cushioning the current and projected increase in the cost of living. The reduction the cost of doing business in the public and private sectors remains an area of ​​pressing concern for BPSA.”

Dorothy H. Lewis