Inniss: It’s not up to par
The local manufacturing sector is underperforming.
That was the dismal picture Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Development Donville Inniss painted of the manufacturing industry at the opening of this year’s Barbados Manufacturers’ Exhibition (BMEX).
Inniss said Government had introduced a number of incentives for business to excel over the years but the sector has not been performing as expected.
“There is a swathe of incentives for green energy businesses, creative industries, about ten trade agreements to which Barbados is signatory, export financing facilities, and numerous funds which support both loans and grants to target manufacturing, small businesses and renewable energy,” he said.
“Clearly these provisions have not brought about the level of competitiveness anticipated.”
He added that the cost of production, lack of productivity, proper management, required skills and vision were hindrances in the industry.
However, he said events such as BMEX could be used to develop strategies to tackle the challenges manufacturers’ experience.
Executive director of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Council, Henderson Eastmond, said skills were a critical aspect of the manufacturing industry and the TVET system needed to focus on helping people develop higher level skills.
“The TVET council has recognised the need for upskilling. We have therefore acquired over one hundred standards at levels three and four, which is pre-degree and degree level respectively, across all sectors,” he said.
“We have begun dialogue with both private and public sector agencies for roll out early in the new year.”
Hundreds of schoolchildren also got the opportunity to learn about local goods and services at the event held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, in Two Mile Hill, St Michael. They were excited to try samples of food and asked business representatives loads of questions.
BMEX continues until Monday. (SB)