The representative body of small businesses here is not about to allow Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler to get away with his promise to provide funding for the sector.
The Small Business Association (SBA) is vowing to keep up the pressure on the Ministry of Finance until the minister keeps his word and implements the new fund.
In his presentation last month of the 2016 Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals, Sinckler announced that a special $50 million fund would be established to provide a blend of grants and soft loans to the sector.
Addressing the recent launch of Small Business Week 2016, Chief Executive Officer Lynette Holder said although the SBA was confident the new measure would be implemented, it would not relent until it became a reality.
“Based on the calls that we have been getting at the secretariat we get the sense that the sector is pretty excited about this $50 million fund for small firms, a combination of grants and small interest loans. So the association has all intentions of following up with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs relative to the mechanism for the administration of this fund. We cannot allow the August 16 budget to have gone without us using the ensuing weeks to press that the necessary action now be put in place to bring this to fruition,” Holder said.
“If our Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs announces a promise, a project or programme, he and his ministry are more than capable of delivering on it. What I will say is that the association will do all it can to remind him of that promise,” she added.
As part of the process to establish the special $50 million fund, Government said it would review and reconfigure the current Industrial Credit Fund, currently under the management of the Central Bank of Barbados.
Small Business Week 2016 runs from September 18 to 24.