Minister of Energy, Small Business and Entrepreneurship Kerrie Symmonds wants to see equal opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses in Barbados.
But for this to happen, he said, legislation to assist in the registering and governing of transactions, which would allow for movable assets to be used as security, must be enacted.
In his contribution to the debate in Parliament on the Appropriation (Amendment) Bill 2020, this morning, Symmonds contended that in too many instances small businesses were being overlooked for financing.
“There is a challenge in the structure of this economy where, even as I speak to you today, availability for insurance for some of those persons who are plying their trade legitimately, earning a living legitimately as a business [is difficult]. When you hear you can’t get insurance for your boat that is nonsense, but it happens in Barbados,” he said.
“We, as a Government, now have to confront the issue of how we can make sure that we so transform and restructure the way in which financing is available to small business people in this country, that we make them equal at the bar of public opinion and in the eyes of the country.”
Symmonds said the development of a collateral registry in Barbados was important.
“Collateral is the oxygen for free-flowing credit in any economy. It is a foolishness to suggest that small fishermen, small plumbers, small contractors and artisans, who have a wealth of resources by way of assets… that there is no way in this land of ours that you can secure financial assistance and loans against your accounts receivable and the inventory that you have – because as I made the point, the insurance industry does not want to hear you in many cases…,” Symmonds pointed out.
“It’s a reality that we have to get right and these things stand in the way of people and small businesses being deprived of the essential oxygen that is necessary for them to succeed.”
The Minister said the securitisation of transactions was equally critical as it reduced the potential of losses for businesses that were prepared to lend.
“If we do not get these things right, then we do not bring the level of equity that we need… for the people who are developing their businesses…,” Symmonds noted.
“We have locked ourselves into a box where traditionally we have approached this matter where land can qualify. So if you have land you can go to the bank and get a loan, if you have a building that you own you can go to the bank and get a loan, but there has to be legislation that has to assist us in the registering and the governing of transactions where we can use movable assets as security.” (RB)