The Barbados Labour Party today defended its economic programmes after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) earlier this week lowered the growth projections.
Previously, the economy was forecast to grow by 4.9 per cent, but that was changed to 4.5 per cent and 3.9 in 2024.
Minister in the Ministry of Finance, Ryan Straughn, said the economy would continue to grow.
“Our economy is growing coming out of COVID-19, and while the rate of growth may not continue at this pace, we are heartened to see that economic growth is projected for the foreseeable future,” he said in a statement.
“That being said, these are simply projections, but the power to achieve and exceed these projections lies squarely within our hands.”
Among the steps Government is taking are:
Transforming the country by introducing a 21st Century educational system;
Revitalising the airport to double the passenger traffic within the next seven years;
Transitioning to clean energy to build energy security and resilience; and,
Mobilising private sector finance to support the construction of climate-resilient lower income housing.
Straughn said this would not only drive economic growth but also create better paying jobs and opportunities.
“Complacency is the enemy of progress. Therefore, we must […] now and cannot sit still. We must continue to break off the shackles of colonial era policies that hold our people back. We are building our own future and we are heartened to see that our people-centred policies are resulting in continued economic growth that is inclusive and transformational.”
Although lower, the growth projection for the Barbados economy is in line with that of Governor of the Central Bank, Dr Kevin Greenidge, who had announced it would be in the range of four to five per cent
The economy grew by 11.3 per cent in 2022.
Meanwhile, lecturer in economics at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Dr Ankie Scott-Joseph, earlier this week said she was not surprised by this change in forecast.
She warned Barbados’ economy would continue to be impacted by international risks and cited inflation as one of the biggest bugbears.
“The main bottleneck hampering its growth potential is its inflation rate. The inflation rate has slowed but it will remain elevated for a prolonged period and would likely reduce real incomes. Inflation and the higher cost of living may be weighing on consumers’ wallets, pressing them to rethink spending habits.” (PR/SAT)