BRIDGETOWN, Barbados - With a hefty bill of $200 million being spent on vehicular importation over a two year period is reason for some concern.
Whether this sum of money relates to cars alone, or cars and other commercial vehicles is uncertain, but Barbadians have a current appetite for about 5000 vehicles per year which equates to 400 per month.
What is certain according to nationnews.com is that data from the Barbados Statistical Service showed almost 5 000 cars were imported last year with about 10 000 being brought from several countries over the two-year period 2016 and 2017.
Lecturer in economics at the University of the West Indies, Dr Troy Lorde, believe a cap on the importation of these vehicles could certainly help the foreign exchange situation now plaguing this island.
According to the Central Bank of Barbados' Economic Review for the January to September period - 2017. External debt service, and a lack of major foreign inflows to offset those payments, contributed to a further decline in the level of international reserves. At the end of September, they had declined by $133.9 million to $549.7 million, the equivalent of 8.6 weeks of import cover.
The central bank blames the service of debt and lack of foreign inflows, but is it not obvious that there is also a decline because of the ways in which we spend the little we have? We need a Central Bank Governor with the "testicular fortitude" who will do the obvious, and blame the outflows also.
It has been reported that there are more than 130 000 vehicles on the roads of Barbados. This is evident by layman observation in the amount of road rage, traffic jams, and vehicular accidents on a daily basis.
Business moguls such as Sir Kyffin Simpson, who is related to vehicular sales through Simpson's Motors, and petrol distribution through Simpson Oil Limited (SOL), must be smiling all the way to the bank, because if he hasn't as yet, must be making moves to own the cargo ship that delivers the cars to Barbados, and the rest of the Caribbean. Later he might also consider owning The Barbados National Oil Company.
It is interesting that the average Bajan can get a loan to buy a vehicle, but can find it difficult to acquire a loan to purchase a home, or finance a business, which would build wealth in the country.