Barbados Labour Party (BLP) Member of Parliament (MP) for St Michael South East Santia Bradshaw has described as inadequate, Government’s recent $10 million disbursement to Fund Access – the agency charged with providing development finance for micro enterprises.
Speaking to members of the media following a tour of the St Michael East constituency on Saturday, Bradshaw said constituents who try to access the Fund would “get the short end of the stick”, as there is not enough money to allow people to start a business and make their surroundings safe and attractive to customers.
“The challenge is that in a community such as this . . . it is very difficult for persons to be able to establish themselves. Those funds that have been allocated are obviously not enough at this point to allow . . . persons in these communities to be able to set up and establish their business,” she said.
“As I look around this environment, it is difficult to set up a small business. Whether you are doing hairdressing or cooking, you want an environment that is not only hygienic . . . so if you are going to access funding to be able to set up a business, you still want to ensure that you don’t see burst pipes running along the floor and . . . that people aren’t having to almost expose themselves to the risk of injury to be able to access your property,” Bradshaw added.
It was during his 2016 Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals last August that Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler announced the establishment of the $50 million fund, to be administered by Fund Access, to provide a blend of soft loans and grants to small businesses in Barbados.
Suggesting that the timing was “convenient” Bradshaw said that the Fund should have been implemented since the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) took office nine years ago.
“Of course we are on the eve of an election, and all of sudden . . . we are being told ‘oh, there is access to funding’ when in truth and in fact the demands that are going to be placed on the Fund are going to be far greater than what has actually been placed into the Fund at this point in time,” she said. (KK)