The private sector is now feeling a bit more confident that changes will be made to the economic environment going forward.
As Government now has the evidence regarding areas of concern for the sector relating to bureaucracy and lack of business facilitation in some Government agencies, president of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Lalu Vaswani, said he had faith that there should be “positive changes to enhance the business environment so thatinvestment can proceed”.
There have been repeated calls from the private sector for Government to review some of its policies regarding taxation as well as to enhance the business facilitation process within some statutory organizations, especially the Bridgetown Port and the Town Planning Department, which businesspeople say were hindering investment and development of some projects.
However, during an update on the Barbados economy on Monday, Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler, responding to questions from reporters, said he was unaware of the projects that were being held up within the private sector due to bureaucracy in some Government departments. “I have told them . . . to bring the projects let us know what these projects are and where they are being held up, whether it is in the Ministry of Finance, which I don’t know about, or the Town Planning Department which I don’t know about, but where these projects are held up bring them and we will discuss them with the Honourable Prime Minister,” said Sinckler.
“To be fair, in the system there are people who just make statements and when you check there is some other issue associated with why that project cannot go forward, and 90 per cent of the time has nothing to do with bureaucracy in Government; it has to do with some fatal flaw in the project itself and particularly as it relates to providing adequate information on the projects,” added Sinckler.
On Tuesday Sinckler met with Vaswani and Prime Minister Freundel Stuart on those and other issues. Though not giving details on the meeting, Vaswani said it was a follow-up to the members’ forum that was held a few days earlier in which members “identified areas for collaboration and areas of solutions”.
Vaswani described the meeting with Government as “very cordial, frank and thorough”. “We were able to justly demonstrate the wide scope for investments and there is mutual understanding that we will work together. We are satisfied with the level of engagement and seriousness with which these issues were discussed that there will be a positive change to enhance the business environment so that investment can proceed,” said Vaswani.
“I would say there is a mutual understanding on what needs to be done and how to get it done.
And we feel that will help us to see the flow of investment resume and that would help to grow the confidence among businesses, the population and among foreign direct investors,” added Vaswani.