Government is reviewing incentives offered to the manufacturing sector as it works towards making Barbados World Trade Organization (WTO)-complaint by year end.
Minister of Industry and Commerce Donville Inniss revealed that while the process was a work in progress, Government has already received several proposals from public officers who have consulted “far and wide” with the private sector about the kinds of incentives the administration will offer.
“I believe the Fiscal Incentive Act of Barbados will in the not-too-distant future become something of the past, as we roll out new incentives for this industry; but the incentives that we roll out will have to be derived from further consultations. It will also have to be derived from having a clear understanding as to the role of manufacturing in a contemporary Barbados economy, the role of the State in facilitating the growth and development of manufacturing,” Inniss told the media following a tour of two manufacturing companies, Doyle Sail Makers and Talius Barbados located in Six Roads Industrial Estate, St Philip this morning.
“I certainly hold the view that the manufacturing sectors’ future lies on our ability to innovate, to fully embrace technology, to be entrepreneurial in our administration, to be adequately financed, and certainly to have the highest possible international standards in whatever we produce, whether it be for domestic market or an export market,” the minister added.
Meanwhile officials of the two manufacturing plants said that the companies have been doing good business despite a difficult year.
General Manager of Doyle Sail Makers Dana Seymour said the period between June and early August was slow for unknown reasons but that business has been better so far this months and he was hoping the improvements would continue through to the end of the year.
He revealed that the 27-year-old company which builds custom cruising long life sail boat sails for the Caribbean and the rest of the world with a staff of 40 has plans to expand.
“We started in 1988 and we have been growing ever since then. We started with a staff of eight. We are trying to expand to some other areas. The United States has been a great spot for growth, we are looking closely at Cuba, we think that there is an opening there for us. We have plans to move into a fourth building, hopefully that will happen within the next five or six months,” Seymour said.
For Talius Barbados, which manufactures a range of hurricane shutters and operates in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) market, the economic environment has been tough, but it has not released any of its 13 employees.
“Like everybody else we have been feeling the pinch of the economic strain. There are plans to expand and there are plans ongoing now. We are looking at some new markets [for] our products as well,” Operations Manager Andrew Gittens said.
Inniss assured the manufacturing officials that his ministry would continue to partner with businesses such as theirs to ensure export readiness where necessary.
“ Where they need to make improvements with the processes to potentially generate more export business we will do that. And also of course to work hand in hand with them to get into these markets. And that’s why the trade missions we have coming up in the OECS [the sub-regional grouping, the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States], and certainly we will go as far out as Cuba, must involved entities such as those we have in the industrial parks around the island and even those not in the state owned industrial parks but involved in the industry.
“Barbados does have some niche areas for manufacturing and assembly work that we must really give support to and build on and the Government is committed to showcasing them,” Inniss added.