By Sharon Austin
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (BGIS) -- The government of Barbados has implemented a number of initiatives and will introduce others to grow the country’s economy.
This disclosure came on Monday from minister of finance and economic affairs, Christopher Sinckler, during a press conference.
Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Christopher Sinckler
Sinckler revealed that Cabinet had signed off on the proposed financing arrangement for the new Sandals Beaches Hotel at Almond, with the Chinese government.
“The coastal work in preparation for the new cruise terminal at the port has already begun, and we are working to finalise the financing for the remainder of the project. This should happen this year. Both the Inter-American Development Bank and the Chinese [government] have expressed strong interest in financing the build out of the Pier Head Marina. Cabinet will make the final decision as to which one we will go with in a matter of days.
“Government is in the very advanced stages of negotiations for the construction of a waste-to-energy facility at Vaucluse, St Thomas, that will bring in excess of US$300 million into our economy. Given the current challenges, financing arrangements can take longer than usual, but we are confident we can conclude negotiations at reasonable terms so that the economy can benefit from these crucial infrastructure projects in 2014,” Sinckler told the media.
He further disclosed that construction work on the track at Bushy Park had begun and his ministry would sign off on the concessions this week to ensure smooth and quick completion of the facility in time for the Top Gear Motor Racing Festival in May.
The minister added that the first Alternative Cement Factory in Barbados would be erected during the first half of 2014.
“This will not only bring new foreign direct investment into the country, but also new technology that will drive down the price of cement,” he suggested.
Sinckler also pointed out that plans were well advanced for a 750 lower to middle class housing project at the Ridge in Christ Church, which would bring US$50 million into the local economy this year.
“And, exclusively on the domestic side, by the end of this week, my ministry will sign off on the public private partnership road rehabilitation project with the major road builders in Barbados to kick start $50 million in work over the next two years. This, together with a special private sector initiative called the ‘Adopt a kilometre’ highway maintenance project where private sector companies will adopt and maintain large sections of the country’s major highway starting from the airport, promises to not only cut government’s expenditure on this process, but create jobs for persons who might be affected by the proposed retrenchments,” he stated.
Sinckler stressed that other smaller projects would be started to generate good levels of public and private investment to buttress government’s efforts to extract growth in the economy this year.