Government is not favouring foreign investors by offering them special incentives not available to Barbadians.
Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler said recent criticism that this was the case was untrue.
He was referring to statements from sections of the medical fraternity here that the type of incentives offered to American World Clinics to build a health care facility at the site of the former St. Joseph Hospital were not available to them.
The St. Michael North West MP said Barbados had not liberalised health services here under either the World Trade Organisation or otherwise, therefore any investor in this area would have to obtain government’s permission.
Sinckler said this was the case with AWC, but said Barbadian investors were benefiting more than foreigners.
“Since becoming Minister of Finance I have seen and have approved incentives for more local investors in health care than from any foreign investors at all,” he noted.
“In fact, there are number of them … they have invested I think quite wisely in building out plant in Barbados, in emergency operations, in dental operations, they have also provided pharmaceutical operations, they have also done specialised treatments…that Barbados obviously requires.
“The Ministry of Finance continues to give tax concessions and waivers on an array of operations and specifically too for individual practitioners on equipment.”
The minister said in the last four years, and specifically since he took up the Finance portfolio, he “had not seen any substantial requests from foreign investors investing in the medical field in Barbados, in the provision of medical care”
“This is one of them, there are one or two other proposals that have come in, but they have not progressed beyond the stage of ordinary discussion and we await those particulars even as we do our due diligence on those principals.” (SC)