Exhibitors who pulled out of the island’s annual manufacturing exhibition at the last minute because of the Budget have received a tongue lashing from the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Barbados Agricultural Society (BAS) James Paul.
Some of the island’s leading manufacturers were no–shows at the four-day Barbados Manufacturers’ Exhibition (BMEX), in silent protest of the 2017 Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals presented by Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler last Tuesday.
“I think it is a bit of a backward step because it demonstrates the immaturity of the private sector here,” Paul said.
The BAS CEO accused the exhibitors of complacency and failing to cater to their target audience – Barbadians.
It was “a really stupid reaction”, he told Barbados TODAY.
“Let us get real and recognize that if you are in business this is what it is about, showcasing and marketing yourself and your company and your products, and I can’t believe that any business at this stage would tell me that they have an ideal opportunity here to showcase their products and they are not coming . . . and then you are going to expect the same Barbadian consumers to come and buy your products at the end of the day,” Paul argued.
“This effort of showcasing local produce has to be supported by everybody and if the very people who are there to benefit from it don’t, why then should Government put money into helping them if they can’t help themselves?”
The exhibitors’ reaction reportedly came in response to Sinckler’s announcement that the National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL) would be increased from two per cent to ten per cent.
Sinckler also announced a two per cent commission on foreign exchange transactions.