One private sector organization is worried a number of small businesses will be forced to go under unless there is a turnaround soon in the country’s economy.
The Barbados Coalition of Service Industries (BCSI) said the market remained “a bit tight” and many businesses simply could not hold on much longer if the economy did not improve.
Executive Director Graham Clarke told Barbados TODAY one of the major concerns of service providers was the slow pace at which cash was flowing through the system.
“Many businesses are getting longer periods where they are actually being paid and are struggling in some sense to maintain their business activity.
“We all hope that these fiscal challenges will come to an end pretty soon and that we will begin to see some positive changes, not just in the local economy but in the world economy. . . so that we can begin to breathe a sigh of relief. I mean, it has been eight years now that this recession has been going on. It is extremely difficult I think for business to survive in this environment where there is attrition and lack of business coming,” he said.
Clarke, who assumed the executive position in July this year, said while some of the more established businesses were themselves feeling the effects of the economic downturn, it was the newer businesses that were “closer to the edge” because they did not have the required capital to sustain their operations.
“I think those companies, the smaller companies, the ones that are more in their embryonic stages would be the ones that are struggling most of all, and perhaps if it continues you may see that a lot of these businesses actually go off the radar because they can’t sustain losses for an indefinite period,” he warned.
This notwithstanding, the BCSI boss said some of the companies at risk were exploring innovative ways to remain afloat, including non-traditional revenue earning methods.
“Rather than sitting back on their laurels and feeling like ‘this is my product or this is my service’, people are looking to see how they can have some product extensions and to try other things to give them the income necessary to survive in this marketplace,” he said.
Clarke complained about the time it has taken to solve the problem, saying his wish for 2017 was that all the relevant forces would combine their energies to confront the issues facing the country.
“We are taking too long to find solutions and we are not solving these problems in the collaborative way that I think we need to solve [ them]. One wish I would like to see is that we do better at collaboration rather than the individualistic approach to dealing with national issues that we can come together in the interest of the country and solve.
“The problems that are facing us are not insurmountable. We need a more systematic and systemic type of change and action to bring about the solutions that this country needs at this time, and BCSI, we want to be part of that for sure,” he said.
The business executive said in the coming months his organization would be placing greater focus on education, the culture and creative industries, as well as helping to get more service providers export ready.