Prime Minister Freundel Stuart tonight made government’s position clear on the need to have regulations in place to avoid repeating previous financial pitfalls in Barbados.
Addressing the inauguration of the FOROMIC and Inter-Amrican Awards for Microenterprise Development at the Lloyd Erskine
Sandiford Centre, he acknowledged that in whatever projects and programmes were introduced in the furtherance of SMEs, good governance was crucial.
“We need to have regulations in place to avoid the nfinancial pitfalls of the past,” he insisted.
He suggested that the importance of effective regulations in ensuring responsible finance required, therefore, no additional advocacy from him.
He observed that many participants taking part in FOROMIC, the forum on financing small and medium size enterprises, would be entering into business agreements over the next two days.
Aside from the conference, he added, the FOROMIC Marketplace is one of the major networking events on microfinance and microenterprise, which delegates would attend for the year.
The Prime Minister urged delegates to make contact with Barbados’ local and international business community, and to become aware of the possible business opportunities.
“I am confident that in many cases we will find that your, and our interest coincide, and that we can do effective business in the future, as we all seek to rebuild our economies,” asserted Stuart.
He noted the growth of FOROMIC which started in 1998 with 205 institutions and 1.5 million clients and had grown since then, to 600 institutions and 12.5 million clients with over US$15 billion in loans in 2011.
“Fora such as this help to bring sharply into focus, the requirements necessary for entrepreneurs – particularly in the small business sector – to succeed.
Stuart said such gatherings also provide an opportunity to evaluate what was currently availabe in term terms of micro finance and how it could be applied to assist small and medium sized businesses to thrive.
“They allow us to explore the mechanisms for promoting increased income generation in our lower income sectors, where the most vulnerable persons in our societies are to be found,” the Prime Minister stated.
Awards tonight were presented by the Citi Foundation to finance institutions and micro and small businesses in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as a special local award.
William Beckles, the owner of Little League Gymn, won the award for Exellence in Local Micro Entrepreneurship.
The conference continues tomorrow. (EJ)