Thursday 29 October, 2020

Phase Three of BERT to start in April

(File Photo)

(File Photo)

The second phase of the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) program, which saw approximately 1,000 public servants sent home last year, was admittedly a difficult process for Barbadians.  

Now Prime Minister, Mia Mottley is once again calling on the country to hold strain as Phase Three of the program gets underway in April until December 2020. 

This phase of the restructuring process is intended to address the state-owned enterprises (SOE’s) in hopes of lowering the $1.2 billion in transfers and subsidies granted to these agencies as was revealed by the PM during the Sunday Edition of Down to Brass Tacks on Starcom Network.  

“Phase Three starts in April to deal with some of those SOE’s that require a greater amount of time and process to go in and do what has to be done, so you don't end up without the services that have to be delivered.” 

She disclosed, under Phase Three of the BERT program layoffs were expected "in one or two State-Owned Enterprises.”

She said BERT, which has already saved government $800 million in interest payments under the debt exchange offer, has allowed public servants to not be sent home in mass numbers. 

“Imagine what would have happened if we had sent home five times that,” Mottley said, noting that BERT was the means by which government was able to keep layoff numbers at a minimum.  

Responding to comments made about the restriction on overtime, Mottley said the move was suggested by the trade unions during a meeting of the Social Partnership as a strategy to keep public servants from the breadline.   

“If we can restrict overtime to allow less people to be sent home, I think that is a fair thing.”  

Mottley also told her detractors who were criticizing the BERT program to speak from a "place of facts", adding she is confident the program will pull the country out of its economic slump.  

“You cannot say that the country does not have a growth program when the Economic Recovery and Transformation Program is premised on a growth program and not only austerity measures.”  

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