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Central Bank Governor Marion WIlliams restates need for wage restraint.


GOVERNOR of the Central Bank, Dr Marion Williams, GOVERNOR of the Central Bank, Dr Marion Williams, is adamant that wages in Barbados must be kept down.

However, she said that despite the need for wage restraint, "anomalies" in the system should not be ignored.

In her first comments since the controversial issue of wage increases of up to 20 per cent for politicians and top civil servants following a regrading exercise in the public service, Williams said yesterday ". . . that commitment to wage restraint does not mean that if there are certain anomalies which present themselves, that we should not deal with them".

Using the example of the nursing profession, the governor said if the country was losing its nurses that situation had to be addressed.

Her call for wage restraint was one of the main arguments used by those opposed to the significant wage increases now being debated in Parliament.

"I am not in a position to say what response should be made . . . but I would say that anomalies should be addressed and that in addressing those anomalies, one does not necessarily undermine the commitment to wage restraint," she said in her review of the economy for the first half of the year.

Williams also responded to questions about what should be done for workers at the lower end of the pay scale whose disposable incomes did not improve as a result of reduced income taxes because they fell below the income tax threshold.

"Perhaps that is something that one has to bear in mind. My view is a macro view of the economic impact of the increased disposable incomes on the economy, generally. But I could accept that those persons at the lower end of the income scale who are not subject to tax will not benefit from the increase in disposable incomes."

Increased disposable incomes from reduced income tax has been used by the Central Bank as one of the reasons why salary hikes were unwarranted after recent increase in fuel costs and several food items.


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