BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Thursday March 30, 2017 – Barbados’ private sector has put the Government on notice that it can no longer maintain current job levels as it struggles to withstand the pressure from the deteriorating economy.
President of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce Eddy Abed told the grouping’s monthly business luncheon yesterday that businesses have been able to maintain employment for well over 100,000 people, but this was a result of “restraint and maturity.”
“This has however come at a cost of lower profit levels and reduced capital investment in new and existing ventures,” he warned.
Though staying clear of saying the layoffs were imminent, Abed cautioned that it could not be business as usual.
He advised Barbadians to brace for further austerity measures, as he expressed concern that the country’s economic future remains uncertain.
Abed lamented that the island was headed in the “wrong direction with only over-optimistic promises to comfort us.”
Citing a string of economic woes, the BCCI president said Government had failed to halt the economic slide, resulting in staggering debt and successive economic downgrades by rating agencies, among other things.
“Sadly, this calamitous situation has continued unabated; the results are everywhere to be seen. Government services have drastically deteriorated, as generally there has not been any realistic allotment for maintenance or replacement of essential equipment. Yet we are told that our Central Bank continues to print money at the dizzying amount of $50 million per month to pay public servants…”
Stressing the need for an urgent overhaul since time was running out, Abed said Barbadians have to play their role by adjusting to paying their own way for critical services that the Government could no longer afford to fund.
“I am aware that the entitlements that many take for granted for the last two generations must be reviewed and a buffet of options guided by means testing, user fees and outsourcing will have to be embraced.
Unless all Barbadians recognize that the gravy train will no longer provide an easy ride as before, and every citizen must be meaningfully engaged in a work environment, we will forever be chasing an elusive lifestyle that cannot be maintained,” he added
The businessman called for a “reboot of a generally poor customer service and generally low productivity in both the private and public sectors.
Abed urged the Government to take the BCCI’s advice to lower its expenditure, improve the ease of doing business and grow the economy.