Green shoots are being seen in the economy as a result of the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation Programme (BERT).
Minister in the Ministry of Finance, Ryan Straughn, made this observation as he addressed ICBL’s Celebration Event for its 40th anniversary, at Sandals Royal Barbados Resort, last Friday night.
Mr. Straughn said Government had demanded a series of monthly reports from all of its entities so officials could easily track and account for the financial state of the public sector on a continuous basis.
“These new standards are critical in assisting us in the effective monitoring of the targets we have imposed upon ourselves in our BERT programme. Many have been speculative about our home-grown programme, but the green-shoots are already evident.
“Our first investment upgrades over the last decade have been recently announced, which reflects the resurgence of confidence in the Barbadian economy. Our foreign reserves have more than doubled since we have come into office, and we have closed the fiscal gap for the first time in many years,” he stated.
The Minister gave the assurance that Government would continue to provide the enabling environment to support existing businesses and remove the impediments that frustrate new and emerging ones.
He pointed out that ICBL’s plans for the next 40 years – product innovation, increased use of digital platforms and investing in its people – were consistent with Government’s transformation vision.
“Government is determined to transform our economy. We intend to enhance the way we do business; the speed and quality with which services are delivered; the way we make and receive our payments; the way we engage all our citizens; the way we make decisions; and the transparency and accountability structures that would facilitate the efficiencies gained by our transformation,” he stressed.
Mr. Straughn indicated that Government would be placing more emphasis on digitizing operations in order to be more effective and efficient. According to him, various processes would be streamlined so as to provide a better customer experience and reduce costs.
He disclosed that one of the upgrades Government was currently working on was digitizing the accident reports done by the Royal Barbados Police Force. “We feel that given this technological intervention, that your assets need not be tied up unnecessarily,” he stated, adding that there should be a speedy resolution with respect to the settlement of claims.
Minister Straughn also said that Government was interested in introducing a commercial court to settle some of the longstanding disputes which had arisen within the insurance space.