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Positive vibes

TRE GREAVES, [email protected]

Positive vibes

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DON’T BE SURPRISED if there is an increase in economic activity within the next three to six months.

President of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), Eddy Abed, said this was due to members of the private sector feeling more confident about the economy with the General Election out of the way.

“I’ve been informed by many of our members that some of the plans they put on hold in at least the last six months, they are perhaps moving forward on them and that is an exceptionally good sign. I’ve not heard positive news like that in a very long time,” he said.

He was speaking yesterday at the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC) headquarters on the Princess Alice Highway where the BCCI and the Government agency signed a memorandum of understanding.

Abed said many were eager to see the measures the Mia Mottley administration would put in place to improve the economy in the short term.

He said there was always great interest in foreign investment, but owing to uncertainty from local business owners, there had been a shying away.

“You’d be surprised about the number of people who want to invest in this country, and they like to sense the temperature and the mood by asking local businesses.

“Uncertainty is one of the greatest poisons to business. When businesses are uncertain or are no longer confident, they put up their shields and lock down, and that’s what has happened for at least the last six months,” Abed explained.

“Now that there is certainty, I think we will see movement forward and equally, they want to have a greater sense of how things will be solved, so the mood is positive,” he added.

During the election campaign, the Barbados Labour Party promised to axe the National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL). Abed said though they were looking forward to its removal, he said they were in talks with Government to see how the shortfall would be made up.

“We fully expect the NSRL will be repealed. We also expect that shortcoming of $140 million will have to be made up, so we’ve been asked as part of the private sector associations and the trade unions as to how that will
be made up.

“But although the NSRL may be repealed today, the adjustment in prices will only occur when the inventory is replaced. I think one must be realistic,” he added. (TG)