Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Growth of 1.7 ‘not enough’


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BARBADOS AND ITS Caribbean neighbours will collectively grow by 1.7 per cent this year, but it will not be enough for them to flourish. The region was given that dose of reality on Friday by Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) director of economics Dr Justin Ram.

Speaking at the bank’s Wildey, St Michael headquarters during a review of 2016 and 2017 outlook presentation shared with CDB president Dr Warren Smith, Ram said the expansion in gross domestic product would be insufficient to enhance employment.

It also will not be enough to reduce high regional debt levels, and the economist identified the need for a long term action programme to allow the Caribbean to take part in global supply chains. He believed this would give the region a better chance to thrive economically.

Ram said fiscal reforms were required so that the region could solve its major high debt and low economic growth problem.

“Given the vulnerabilities to natural disasters and how this has contributed to debt accumulation, it is important for countries to use revenue windfalls to set up contingency funds or sovereign wealth funds, so as to reduce the debt burden and ensure greater economic and social resilience,” he asserted.

He made the statements as Smith announced that the CDB approved US$306 million in loans and grants for its borrowing member countries last year, a sum that was the highest approved in the last five years.

“We reached noteworthy milestones in deepening our strategic partnerships and successfully mobilising financial resources that our BMCs can use to craft appropriate responses to their development challenges,” Smith said.

Ram urged Caribbean countries to put steps in place to increase productivity and improve competitiveness. (SC)


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