Remove stumbling blocks, urges BIBA president
IMPROVE THE EASE of doing business in Barbados and additional Government revenue will naturally follow.
This was the stance taken by Barbados International Business Association (BIBA) president, Connie Smith, as debate continues to swirl around regarding the appropriate measures that Government needs to take to improve the country’s financial position.
“We have reports in the media of investors trying to get major projects off the ground but are being stymied by the local agencies which have the authority to make it happen, or not make it happen; we know of local entrepreneurs who want to get up and running to do business with the rest of the world but we lack the enabling environment here to propel this forward,” said Smith.
The BIBA leader pointed to the fact that once the stumbling blocks that hobbled enterprise in Barbados were removed, the island could see exponential growth in the number of new domestic and foreign businesses on the island, leading to higher employment, more tax revenue and fees flowing into government’s coffers, and much more foreign exchange.
“Unfortunately, the World Bank’s Doing Business series of reports shows that Barbados continues to slide, with speed, down the yearly rankings relative to the performance of other countries in our region, far less across the world. The fact that Antigua and Barbuda, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Dominica have all been reported as having surpassed us in the ease of doing business requires some serious introspection. It is frankly ridiculous that it could take as long as 270 days to request and receive planning permission for a new construction; or that a new electrical connection could take up to 87 days,” said Smith.
“What is important is for us to set a national agenda for change, to identify what we want to see ourselves achieve over the next two or three years, and then set about with earnestness and determination to achieve these measures. Specific departmental and individual accountability must be written in to these targets and enforced. The Ministry of International Business has set out a strategic plan for our sector, but we have to move beyond this to a holistic strategy in which we establish benchmarks for the type of improvements that we need to see achieved across our key public and private sector entities.
“We have to commit ourselves to dealing with these issues if we are to improve our conditions and pull ourselves out of the quagmire in which we now find ourselves,” said the international business executive. (PR)