FORMER Prime Minister of Barbados Owen Arthur is calling for Government to put everything on the table and tell the country what to expect out of the
commitments made to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“Prepare Barbados for austerity. Stop telling us how quickly this programme has been negotiated. How wonderful it is. Many difficult things still have to be done and the country must be prepared to accept that these things are being done as a necessity,” he exhorted.
In fact, Arthur says the Government has already made a commitment to the IMF to see the primary surplus increase to 6 per cent next year, which means a financial adjustment of a whopping $250 million in one year to realise that 2.5 per cent increase. He lamented that this does not augur well for State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs).
“…Most in this instance will not have to do with the Central Government, because that is already being addressed through retrenchment, but will have to take some radical measures to address the situation in statutory enterprises.
“The Barbados Government has 63 statutory enterprises. The next phases will be to address them,” he lamented.
His comments came on Wednesday night as a part of the public forum on the topic “Economic Challenges in Barbados and You”. However, the discussion at some points morphed into a debate on economic policy between himself and government’s Special Advisor on the Economy, Professor Avinash Persaud, who was one of the panellists.