Saturday, April 20, 2024

Be transparent!


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It is time state-owned agencies are mandated to provide up-to-date financial audits so that transparency becomes a buzzword in the public sector.

That was among a three-tier strategy presented by Tom Hall, chief executive officer (CEO) of Williams Industries, during his address to the Barbados Employers’ Confederation’s annual general meeting at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre yesterday.

He said with such a large public sector, financial transparency was important, and he believed following the May 24 general elections, this should be implemented by the incoming administration.

He noted that two years from the election date, all state-owned enterprises should have their financial audits up-to-date, and while it could be a headache, he noted “it is a process that is achievable”.

Hall also recommended de-risking the Barbadian currency, noting his concern that the country needed a better cash flow, since the currency was not liquid and not as valuable as it was before.

Managing director of CIBC FirstCaribbean Bank (Barbados), Donna Wellington, said overspending was a problem that had plagued the country, noting that “at least for the past ten years, our expenses are greater than the money we are able to raise in revenue”. 

Expenses, she outlined, were 108 per cent of revenue, with general cost of running Government 50 per cent, state-owned enterprises 27 per cent, with 5.5 per cent on capital expenditure and 26 per cent on interest costs.

“We would want that the general cost and the state-owned enterprises to be 74 per cent of what the money is used for, raising capital expenditure to at least ten per cent of the revenue that we earn, and interest cost no greater than 16 per cent of the total amount of the money that we have to play with,” she stated.

The banker recommended a better delivery of state services and greater use of technology to cut cost, that Government reduce spending, and in terms of social services, to determine who needed to be assisted and who could pay.

Better governance, public sector reform, linkages and addressing the ease of doing business, and paying attention to the green and blue economies were the recommendations from panellist Reginald Farley, executive director of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Barbados. (DR)


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