The local private sector is too dependent on Government for financial support, complains Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler, who wants businesses to look for alternate funding.
On the final day of debate on the 2016/2017 Estimates of Expenditure and Revenue in the House of Assembly, Sinckler said: “The way in which our economic and commercial relations have developed over time, by and large a lot of the private entities are really acting as appendages of the Government, because such a large part of what they do is supported from Government’s financial resources.
“We have road builders in Barbados . . . but none — big, medium, or small — can really survive without Government’s support in terms of Government work.
“Indeed whenever the Government’s capital works programme for infrastructure development relative to roads has to be downsized, as has been in the case in our period of economic struggles, many of these entities have [had] to retrench or put on three-day rotations large portions of their staff, because there is no work to do, because a substantial amount of the work that they get is from Government,” he added.
Sincker pointed to the relationship between the Transport Board and the United Commercial Autoworks Limited (UCAL) as a perfect example.
He said the relationship between the two entities had become so intertwined, that it was hard to distinguish between the private firm and the public firm.
“The perfect solution in the structuring of our economic relationships, is to downsize this thing we call Government and to shift these operations into what we call the private sector for them to carry on this work that apparently public sector operatives and structures cannot efficiently execute,” the Minister noted. (RB)