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Vendors’ role critical

Alister Alexander

Vendors’ role critical

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Statement from Alister Alexander, president of the Barbados Association of Retailers, Vendors and Entrepreneurs on tomorrow’s Budget.
 Any economist can attest that because of its relatively slim setup cost, [street vending] often gives a significant cost relief to public who generally have to pay more elsewhere. Therefore any serious effort on Government’s part to reduce the cost of living to consumers has to encourage more of this situation; not less.
Historically, vending has played a silent role in the socio-economic life of the nation. Not only is this important informal sector the largest grouping within the microbusiness sector, it remains the only viable commercial sector that is likely to transform the racial imbalance of our modern economy. Vendors are presently challenging the monopolistic tendencies of a socio-economic climate that all economists agree is still in need of a fundamental change.
In every economy, Government is the paramount manager, and no Government can be successful in that role unless it follows proper entrepreneurial prudence. All the countries that can be considered developed became so by facilitating the growth of every economic sector and by bringing organization to the smallest factors within every productive area. Simply put, it had an integrated policy of facilitation and not impediment.
We regret that while some focus has been given by this administration to agriculture, vending, which not only is its sister sector but is its chief marketing distributor, has never been engaged nor has any public policy been ever articulated on it.
The Barbados Association of Retailers, Vendors and Entrepreneurs looks forward to a Budget that has general and specify proposals that will benefit our sector. It is time to say something to the vendor – the consumer’s best friend.