Barbados Chamber of Commerce & Industry looks at S&P Downgrade – thinks NIS funds & Four Seasons should remain separate
The Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) considers it most unfortunate in having Barbados’ Sovereign rating lowered by Standard and Poor’s to a level below investment grade to ‘BB+/B; Outlook Stable’, citing ‘not only external environment but also more pronounced competitiveness and other structural shortcomings’.
Notwithstanding our last press release of June 16th 2011 when Barbados received a downgrade by Moody’s, the Chamber reiterates the need for Government to take decisive action on a number of fronts, particularly as it relates to the economic fundamentals. The Barbados Competitiveness program remains the most important program focused on structural reform and this report highlights the need to keep the program on schedule.
It is noteworthy that the report highlighted several positive factors, namely that the outlook is stable, the strength of the social partnership, political stability and strong institutions. It is also worth noting that the U.K., our major source for visitors, has slipped back into recession and that many developed economies have worse problems than Barbados.
The report notes that government has demonstrated a commitment to reduce the fiscal deficit. However, the private sector would be more satisfied to know that the Government is prepared to take additional steps to address expenditure levels without further delay and with the same intensity as shown for the revenue side.
- The Chamber is also concerned about negative factors highlighted in this same report, these being the use of National Insurance funds and unsuccessfully reducing high transfers and subsidies.
We encourage a rigorous review of privatization of some aspects of Government business and look toward collective efforts at prudently reducing spending at a national level.
The BCCI remains committed to encouraging its private sector partners to retain confidence amidst this circumstance.