Improve Low Growth in Saint Lucia
Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), Timothy Antoine has stated that as a new decade unfurls Saint Lucia must move vigorously to reduce low growth in its economic development pursuits.
MOBILE Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), Timothy Antoine has stated that as a new decade begins, efforts must be made to reduce Saint Lucia’s low growth in its economic development pursuits.
He said it is time to urgently arrest and reverse the trend of low growth in the country.
The ECCB Governor noted that Saint Lucia has under-performed over the past two decades.
Antoine expressed these sentiments while delivering the Sir Arthur Lewis Memorial Lecture recently, as part of the Nobel Laureate Festival when he spoke on the topic: “Socio-Economic Transformation by Invitation and Innovation”.
Looking at Saint Lucia’s situation, he asked: “Why is that the case? There are many factors, four of which are: low and declining productivity; limited fiscal space which has constrained the size of government’s capital programme; inordinate delays in completing major projects even with secured external funding; and slow – painfully slow – implementation of structural reforms including legislative reforms to address the issue of access to credit,” he explained.
Antione reiterated: “In the case of the latter, this is essential for private sector development. As we enter this new decade, there is an urgent need to arrest and reverse the trend of low growth in Saint Lucia.”
According to the ECCB Governor, undoubtedly, the most dominant socio-economic challenge in our societies is high unemployment, especially among our youth.
He observed that the injustice of unemployment is that it deprives willing individuals of the dignity of decent work and the opportunity to participate fully in economic life.
Antoine recalled that a 2019 International Monetary Fund (IMF) working paper notes that the high level of structural unemployment in the ECCU is partly the result of rigidities in the labour markets.
“These include, for example, lack of flexible labour laws and critical skills shortages amid high unemployment,” he observed.
“Poverty levels have remained stubbornly high across the region, which is partly tied to chronic unemployment and underemployment and the lack of relevant skills.”
Antoine noted: “Of the 190 economies ranked by the World Bank, the average ranking of the ECCU countries is 121. Saint Lucia fares the best of the six ranked ECCU member countries. Still, that position is far below our aspiration to be in the top 50.”