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Slow recovery for Caribbean - ILO official

Published:Thursday | April 15, 2010 | 12:00 AM


Caribbean countries will not benefit from the global economic growth predicted for the next two years, a senior official of the Geneva-based International Labour Organisation (ILO), said yesterday.

ILO Senior Economic Adviser Robert Kyloh told regional labour ministers gathered in Guyana for a three-day meeting of the Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) that while growth at the global level will reach four per cent and developing countries will achieve as much as six per cent, "the economic outlook is clouded for most of the (Caribbean) region".

He said while the global "multi-speed" recovery economy will spur growth, "many countries and regions will lag behind (and) several Caribbean countries are expected to have negative growth".

Fiscal space

Kyloh urged regional governments to combine their monetary and fiscal policies "quickly" to stimulate the labour sector.

But he acknowledged the region lacked the fiscal space to implement policies used by the United States, Britain, Germany, and Australia, and to put into practice other strategies implemented by Brazil, China and India to encourage a rebound by the global economy following the 2009 dramatic economic meltdown.

Kyloh said the Caribbean could not rely on overseas development assistance, favourable trade preferences, as part of their recovery strategy because these will not return previous levels.

"The solution has to be home-grown," with policies such as a progressive and broadened regional tax base, and slashing the value added tax the ILO official said.

He said when global figures are released shortly, it will reveal that economic growth for the United States was better than expected for 2009, and is expected to be "twice as fast" this year as most developed countries, including many major European countries.