The offshore business and financial community is banking on Government’s planned reform of the public sector and an ease in doing business here if the economy is to grow.
Member of the Barbados International Business Association (BIBA), have expressed optimism at Government’s plan to improve efficiency and cut costs under the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT).
Executive Director of BIBA Henderson Holmes said
while he believed the sector was already on a path of diversification, a lot of its future growth in attracting new and diverse operations would depend heavily on the ease of doing business.
“The growth in the international business sector depends substantially on what we can do here to make Barbados more attractive as an international business jurisdiction. And when we listen to the Prime Minister, she is saying the right things. She is talking not just about transforming the public sector but about modernizing it,” said Holmes.
He was addressing the launch of International Business Week on Thursday at Invest Barbados in the Trident Insurance Financial Centre in Hastings.
BIBA President Julia Hope said that economic transformation and further diversification of the international business sector, it would require improved legislation and changes to regulations, adding that “we are all working extremely hard to foster all of those aims”.
Adding that the sector had the support of Prime Minister Mia Mottley, who has already indicated her desire to have the sector increase its economic contribution in coming years, Hope said she believed “everything that we are currently doing is really with the aim of enhancing and attracting new business”.
“We need to strive to improve services but it is not just the public sector it is private sector as well and it is a top down approach and every company and every organization need to really step up and play the game properly if we are going to quadruple business,” said Hope.
She said one area ripe for the picking was the financial technology (fintech) space, adding that Barbados already had some “big players” who enjoyed having their business headquartered in the jurisdiction.
“They like the environment but we’ve got a lot of work to do to get up to the standard in some of the other countries who are already playing the game very well,” she said, while stating that Canada remains a huge market for Barbados’ international business and financial service.
Agreeing that business facilitation was critical to the growth of the sector, First Vice President of BIBA Derrick Cummins said Barbados had to ensure that it stood out among other jurisdictions that were offering similar services.
“When we go out to our clients and potential clients we want to be able to say we are going to do ABC and in what timeframe, and what we say we are going to do we have to deliver that. So we need an environment that allows us to do what we say we would do,” he explained.
“Business facilitation from the Government sector is critical to that. How we differentiate to other jurisdictions is our ability to deliver. If we fail to deliver, we fail to promote, we fail to sell, we fail to develop the industry,” he added, while acknowledging that the needed transformation would not happen overnight.
During International Business Week, which kicks off on October 21 with a church service and ends on October 27 with a charity 5k fun walk/run, part of the focus will be placed on the medical use of cannabis.
“We need to just open the door and listen to all the experts and find out what the discussion is overseas and what we should be thinking about here,” said Hope, as she outlined the week of activities.
The week will consist of a school’s symposium, public discussion forum on medicinal cannabis, a careers showcase and the flagship two-day international business week conference that will examine a range of topics.