Chief Executive Officer of Invest Barbados Kaye-Anne Brathwaite is cautioning global business sector stakeholders not to become complacent in light of the sector’s stellar performance for the first nine months of this year.
She issued the warning on Thursday, as she reacted to the latest Central Bank economic review which showed that corporate taxes rose by $216 million, reflecting the combined impact of higher tax rates on companies deriving their income solely from foreign exchange earning activities, and from higher profitability in 2019.
Delivering the January to September review on Wednesday, Central Bank Governor Cleviston Haynes said the sector had proven critical to Government’s tax revenues during the downturn brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Addressing day two of the virtual Global Business Week conference on Thursday, Brathwaite welcomed the news and said it should be celebrated, but cautioned that stakeholders and officials should not relax their efforts.
“Even though this is an achievement we should be pleased about, we are not yet out of the woods, as the economic effects of the pandemic are projected to level out not for at least another two or so years,” she said.
“As a result, we must remain steadfast and be reminded of our roles as stakeholders as we work together to realise the vision of making Barbados a global force of the 21st century.”
Though admitting that the task ahead was no small one, with many of the challenges facing the sector outside of the control of local authorities, Brathwaite said “nevertheless, we must stand committed to remaining energised, determined and informed”.
The Global Business Week conference, which is hosted by the Barbados International Business Association (BIBA), is being held under the theme Adapt, Evolve, Execute and Lead the Change.
Brathwaite gave the assurance that Invest Barbados, the economic development agency responsible for attracting investment to Barbados, would continue to do its part to support BIBA and the wider global business sector “no matter what the circumstances”.
Pointing to the importance of the sector when it comes to job creation and foreign direct investment, she said while those and other benefits were already known, “it is still up to us to find solutions that would continuously lend to its enhancement, no matter the environment”.
She said Invest Barbados continued to tweak its operations to meet the changing demands and the investment promotion agency’s efforts were now virtual and its marketing more and more digital targeted as a result of the pandemic.
“As the saying goes, ‘out of every dark cloud emerges a silver lining’. We must therefore keep striving towards that silver lining, take that stance when we need to and work through the tough conversations,” Brathwaite said.