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Barbados Government Expecting Lower 2008 First Quarter Economic Growth

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Barbados Government Expecting Lower 2008 First Quarter Economic Growth

The new government of Barbados is already warning that foreign economic turbulence may translate into lower-than-projected local growth in the 2008 first quarter.

“Your new government has come to office at a time when the world economy is at a height of economic uncertainty,” Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, David Thompson told his first luncheon meeting with the Barbados business sector.

Against the background of the “choppy waters ahead”, he said, Barbados Central Bank projections of 3.5 per cent economic growth for January to March 2008 would almost certainly have to be revised downward.

Said the Prime Minister: “Expectations at that time were that growth would be realized in both the non-traded and traded sectors; however, with the sluggishness of the US economy, these expectations may be too optimistic.”

In view of the threatening global recession, Mr. Thompson urged the private sector group, representing the Barbados Chamber of Commerce (BCC), the Barbados Manufacturers Association (BMA), the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA), the Barbados Employers Confederation (BEC) and the Small Business Association (SBA), to work closely with his new administration in the national interest.

He spelt out his number one, two and three economic priorities for Barbados as reducing the spiralling cost of living, adding “I am appealing to you to give all three of these the same priority.”

“I am committed to the stance that the private sector will play an integral role in major national initiatives,” he declared.

Mr. Thompson made clear his commitment to “getting lower prices for the consumer” and reminded the businessmen that, though he will listen to their advice, the buck stops with his government.

He disclosed that a forum will be established shortly, so that all the players in the market could talk frankly about the issue, and he would ensure that the exercise will include the “informal sector” – a reference to micro business operators, some of whom have complained about being alienated in the past.

“What my government is interested in, is in securing a bright future for all, where the opportunity for economic empowerment is realized.”

The Prime Minister’s Democratic Labour Party (DLP) won general elections January 15 (2008), defeating the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) by 20 seats to 10.

Additional Information:

January 27th, 2008