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‘End market protection; attract investors’

marciadottin, [email protected]

‘End market protection; attract investors’

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THE DAYS OF protectionism are over and Barbados now needs to create an environment which invites outside investment, says co-founder of Automotive Art, Dereck Foster.
According to the entrepreneur, business people should not rely on Government incentives or market protection to grow their businesses.
“I think the Government’s role is to provide the environment. If some businesses require incentives, so be it, but what I would challenge you  to show me is how many businesses that have very high incentives or very high protection are exporting,” he said.  
Foster said high protection destroyed companies’ ability to compete overseas.
He made the comments while fielding questions from the audience at Frank Collymore Hall last Wednesday after he delivered a public lecture at the invitation of the National Insurance Board.
“We built barriers around our little country and stopped everybody from coming in. That might work for a time and it certainly worked in the 60s but that’s not going to work today.  
“We have to create an environment that will make people want to come in here, produce here and export and it’s probably not going to be products.
“Electricity in Barbados is 24 US?cents when it’s sold commercially. In Trinidad it’s four. I don’t know how you intend to compete with that,” he said.
Foster said Barbados had to pick the businesses that would work in this environment and while some entrepreneurs would come from within the country, others would come from outside.
“I think if the Government creates the right environment they will come,” he said.
“Does it matter where the entrepreneur comes from? I think it is more important that the country benefits.”  (NB)