The representative body of small businesses here is increasing pressure on Government to keep its promise to provide funding for the sector.
The Small Business Association (SBA) is likely to tell Minster of Finance Chris Sinckler to his face Tuesday that its members want the $50 million promised in the recent Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals.
Sinckler, as well as Minister of Small Business Development Donville Inniss, is expected to attend a stakeholders’ forum organized by the SBA as part of Small Business Week 2016.
It was Inniss who Sunday advised the business association to raise the issue with the Minister of Finance after SBA President Dalton Medford brought it up during a church service at Power in the Blood Assembly Church on Kew Road, St Michael at the start the week of activities.
Medford said in his speech his association intended to call on Inniss to enquire about the funds.
However, the minister, who delivered brief remarks after the SBA president, deflected the organization’s concern to his absent Cabinet colleague.
“I agree with him,” Inniss said of Medford’s concern, “and I hope when you visit the minister this week, the minister will tell you where the $50 million is.”
Earlier this month the SBA had signalled its intention to press the Freundel Stuart administration to deliver on its promise.
Addressing the official launch of week on September 6, 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.
“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 at the time.
“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.
In his presentation of the 2016 Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals, Sinckler had announced that a special $50 million fund would be established to provide a blend of grants and soft loans to the sector.
“The Government of Barbados, recognizing the contribution of this sector to sustainable economic growth, continues to provide the sector with an environment to better facilitate its growth,” Sinckler assured at the time.
Small Business Week 2016 ends on September 24.