Government’s Senior Technical Advisor is urging the Mia Mottley-administration not to back off from restructuring its state-owned enterprises (SOEs) over the next three years.
Dr Kevin Greenidge, a Barbados-born economist seconded from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to assist with the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) programme, has reminded the Government it must not lose sight of meeting its targets between now and 2020.
Dr Greenidge cautioned that despite the BERT programme having come in for praise by the IMF for making “an excellent start,” there was still some way to go.
“Much remains to be done, particularly as it relates to the state-owned enterprises and the transformation and restructuring that must occur there. And that is what should be the main focus for the three years…[to] 2020,” he told Barbados TODAY.
“So in a nutshell we have made great progress, but the road is still ahead…,” he added.
The IMF economist noted that at the end of 2018, Barbados was on course to meet the targets under the BERT programme.
“In terms of, for example, the net international reserves…we exceeded that target by a considerable amount so far. The debt is on the trajectory where we are heading; and indeed the fiscal performance has been on target. So yes, we are on target in terms of the targets set under the BERT programme,” Dr Greenidge said.
According to Dr. Greenidge another disbursement of financing from the US$290 million IMF loan would be accessed in June this year, after the March 2019 review.
“But we have an end of December  target which was set under the programme. But that is not tied to any disbursement. That is basically what we refer to as indicative targets…like targets along the way. We expect the IMF team to come to Barbados sometime early this year to do an evaluation. That time and date will be announced by the Prime Minister at some time,” the technical advisor said, adding that the December target would be assessed during the IMF visit.
Asked if he was optimistic the country would meet its end of March target, Dr Greenidge assured that every effort would be made to do so.
“Right now, our first hurdle would be to see how we have done at the end of December. That remains to be evaluated. And indeed, we must continue to stay the line in order to meet the end of March target,” Dr Greenidge told Barbados TODAY.
He is sticking to his guns that the ongoing retrenchments which form part of the restructuring was not a numbers game but a process designed to improve the way business was conducted in central Government and the SOEs.
In looking back at where the country has come from since the May general election, Dr Greenidge is certain that Barbados has done “remarkably well” as a small country.
“We are back in that it’s business as usual…normal business has resumed. But we still have a lot to do and a long way to go; but we can do it, if we stick to it,” the top economist assured.