‘Inefficiency blocking funding’
The current inefficient way funds are distributed could be costing Barbados’ private sector substantial monetary support from international donors.
That’s the conclusion of a new “donor matrix” prepared by Barbadian economist Dr Winston Moore on behalf of Compete Caribbean, a private sector development programme.
Moore, who is a lecturer in the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus’ Department of Economics, recently authored the Compete Caribbean Donor Matrix For Barbados and he made a series of recommendations “to enhance coordination in the donor community, stakeholders, sector representatives and systems to monitor and evaluate progress”.
This included the establishment of a United Nations Development Assistance Framework-styled initiative for coordinating private sector development initiatives in Barbados; capacity enhancement for local NGOs; greater dissemination of information on what each donor agency is working on; helping domestic firms access the private sector development programmes and projects made available by donors.
The former Barbados Economic Society president also said it was necessary to deepen regional integration to reduce the differences in laws and regulations within the region; assist expansion of the national apprenticeship system; and have greater investment in institutional strengthening in Government departments that interface with the private sector.
“Even though Barbados has graduated from developing country status, the donor community still plays an important role in relation to private sector development in Barbados. In recent years donors have directly supported private sector development via a mixture of loans and grants. The programmes/projects span a wide range of objectives including development of the business environment as well as coordination and infrastructure development,” Moore said.
“By and large, most donors programme at the regional level with little coordination at this broad macro level of planning. Coordination, when it does take place, tends to be driven by relationships developed overtime between programme managers in key donor agencies. In recent years, however, there have been some attempts at donor coordination at the regional level.
“Examples of these include the . . . UNDAF, which coordinates the activities of the 15 UN agencies, funds and programmes, as well as the Eastern Caribbean Donor Group that coordinates the activities of six donors around key thematic areas. While these attempts at regional coordination are laudable, many of the stakeholders interviewed suggested that there is a significant level of overlap taking place in relation to support that could be better managed via greater donor coordination,” he added.
The economist said that in Barbados’ case a major part of the challenge was that “there is a somewhat fragmented approach to private sector development involving a number of government ministries”.
“These ministries usually delegate their private sector development efforts to some quasi-government agency. Furthermore, there is limited coordination between ministries/agencies, resulting in a high level of confusion within the sector about sources of funding and other forms of support,” he said. (SC)