The international business sector has identified a number of areas that must be addressed if Barbados is to maintain a strong international business presence.
In his final message for the year, President of the Barbados International Business Association (BIBA) Gregory McConnie said perhaps the most pressing issue in 2016 for the sector was addressing the “ease of doing business”.
He said while he was confident that the sector could continue to grow “exponentially”, it would “only occur in conditions conducive to such growth”.
Warning that international investors could choose from several jurisdictions in which to do business, McConnie said it was critical that both the private and public sectors offer consistency and certainty of process.
“Barbados must demonstrate that it can meet the high standards of service expected by international business investors and practitioners, and that it can do so consistently if it is to be perceived as a high quality jurisdiction,” McConnie said.
“Agility is the other aspect of ease of doing business. That, along with certainty of process, is vital to being able to compete effectively for international business. As a jurisdiction we need to demonstrate agility in adapting to changes in the environment to capitalize on opportunities.
“This includes initiating and implementing legislative changes and effecting the relevant business process changes when new legislation is passed or new opportunities are identified in relatively short time frames. Our time frames for execution must be shortened significantly,” he explained.
The BIBA head said due to a number of factors, including outdated processes and shortage or resources within key governmental bodies, the country fell short on those areas in 2016.
“We recognize that the sustained development of our sector requires an approach that encourages continuous dialogue among government regulators, facilitators and business professionals who must see themselves as being joint architects of Barbados’ economic development. We are committed to this constant engagement,” he added.
However, McConnie said he was pleased the association had achieved a number of its objectives this year, including the launch of a national secondary school quiz tournament, as well as greater awareness about benefits and contribution of the sector to the society.
He said BIBA had also made “appreciable progress in the areas of improved communication and engagement” with members and the wider business sector.