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$14m for new BNSI push


Marlon Madden

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THE BARBADOS government will soon be rolling out a project, estimated to cost $14.58 million, which is aimed at improving the competitiveness of local producers as it relates to standards.
Minister of Commerce and Trade Senator Haynesley Benn told the DAILY NATION the multi-million dollar project would include the building of a new facility and the money – $10 million of which is a loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the remainder from the Barbados government – was already secured.
“A decision will be made very shortly where that office will be set up. We are in the process of identifying the land for the facility and the money has already been provided by the government and the Inter American Development Bank,” he said.
In his delivery of the feature address to mark the open of a two day Small and Medium-sized enterprise (SME) business support organisation training workshop at the Savannah Hotel yesterday, Benn said the government had recognised the importance of standards and the role of the Barbados National Standards Imstitution (BNSI) in improving competitiveness of local producers.
“In order to position the BNSI to effectively undertake this role, the government has undertaken a project geared toward the modernization of the BNSI. This project – Modernisation of the Barbados National Standards System – seeks to harmonise the national standards system in order to improve the country’s competitiveness, consumer protection, trade facilitation and market access by enhancing the competence and performance of the Barbados National Standards Institution,” he said.
The commerce and trade minister further stated that the project would consist of three major components; to strengthen the Barbados National Standard System by implementing a new National Infrastructure (NQI) model, to modernise the BNSI administrative areas through the improvement of administrative processes and implementation of mechanisms for the integration and strengthening of the support systems and to modernize the physical and technological infrastructure.
Benn said it was expected that at the end of the project, BNSI would provide additional services that would assist SME’s in becoming more competitive and export oriented.
The workshop, which is scheduled to finish today, is being held under the theme Standards and Conformity Assessment: Promoting SME competitiveness in the Caribbean through technical standards.

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