The Barbados Central Bank reports the economy contracted by almost 18 per cent last year as tourism and other aspects of the economy took a big hit from the covid-19 pandemic. It has also revised downward, its forecast for this year predicting any recovery will be less than five percent with the outlook remaining uncertain.
In his review of Barbados’ Economic Performance Report for 2020, Central Bank Governor Cleviston Haynes noted it was an especially difficult year for the Barbados economy as COVID-19 triggered a global recession and curtailed international travel.
He pointed out that a big fall-off in tourism led to job losses, reduced government’s revenues and weakened the economy overall.
He believes that the country would have been in a much worse position were it not for what he says was the progress made since the start of the four year economic adjustment program with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which allowed government to adapt economic policy, quickly mobilise external funding and maintain strong foreign exchange reserves.
The Central Bank Governor says the economic outlook for 2021 is now far more uncertain due to the worsening of covid-19 infections here and abroad.
He states that the re-emergence of lockdowns and travel bans globally and the tightening of quarantining requirements for travellers will slow the recovery of global tourism on which the Barbados economy depends heavily.