Government is putting plans in place to introduce financial instruments that are attractive to Barbadians living in the diaspora and at home in an attempt to earn foreign exchange.
Delivering the feature address at the Third Diaspora Conference at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Two Mile Hill, St Michael this morning, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart noted that Barbadian migrants have traditionally responded vigorously to the major challenges of their time.
He also argued that this was the “age of innovation and entrepreneurship”, while telling Barbadians at home and abroad: “Barbados needs your positive response.
“The programme for this consultation includes a series of exhibitions, discussions and experiences to expose you to a wide range of goods, services and ideas that will hopefully get your creative juices flowing. The messages from these various sessions and exhibitions are very clear. They all relate to the fact that this downturn, and the changes it has triggered, offers enterprising Barbadians at home and abroad several pathways to properity. “To start with, I want you to reflect carefully on the Crop Over Festival to see what business opportunities it has suggested to you, whether in goods or in services. Can you see the production and export of these unique goods and services taking more Barbadians along pathways to properity? he asked, adding that “trade and investment are essential means to economic growth in Barbados and your investment, whether continuing or potential, is important to us”.
“Now is a good time to invest in Barbados and help entrepreneurs to link Barbados to its diaspora in mutually beneficial ways and in so doing create employment and also create wealth,” Stuart added.
The Prime Minister said despite the fact that Barbados has established several institutions to help potential entrepreneurs move from the conception of business ideas to the implementation and success of their ventures, several budding business entrepreneurs have complained about the lack of capital to finance their enterprises.
He said even some of those who chose to persevere, have ended up with business projects that are grossly undercapitalised, hence the high failure rate of micro-enterprises and small businesses.
However, Stuart said Government was prepared to extend a helping hand at this juncture of the island’s economic history and “we have been giving considerable thought to the creation of financial instruments that are attractive to networkers at home and abroad, and which would lead to greater uptake of instruments issued by the Government.
“The goal is to raise foreign exchange capital from Barbadians resident aboard and from external holdings of residents of Barbados, and to leverage these resources to support local economic development initiatives. This would be done through a series of initiatives that include more effective marketing and the provision of government guarantees of safe, reliable and attractive rates of return,” Stuart said.