Vaswani: No need to fear franchises
President of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), Lalu Vaswani, is suggesting that proprietors of Barbadian food brands should welcome the entry of international brands into the local market.
The President’s comments came yesterday evening as he delivered remarks at the rebranding ceremony of Mall Internationale, now to be known as Sky Mall, where the newest entrant to the food market, the world famous Burger King franchise, has opened its doors to the public.
Vaswani noted that with the period of protective duties scheduled to expire within two years, it is better to be prepared for international competition gradually than to have to deal with it in one fell swoop.
Moreover, he noted that new additions to the market could also be of great benefit to other productive sectors.
“... Barbados’ food and beverage and agricultural sectors can greatly benefit from the opportunity to secure long-term supply partnerships with franchises. Equally, it is in the economic interest of franchises to ensure a viable local supply chain, since reinvesting in the local economy promotes economic growth and consumer demand,” he said.
With that in mind, he stated that the BCCI also supports the creation of new avenues of foreign exchange and, as such, he is suggesting that the indigenous food sector should also actively consider expanding their franchises beyond these shores as a means of growing their capacity.
“Can you imagine the joy that the Barbadian Diaspora in Brooklyn, Toronto or London would have in having their favourite Barbadian brands in their adopted homelands? Indeed, this could be part of the new economy of services that would contribute to earning valuable foreign exchange for Barbados,” the BCCI head said.
Vaswani’s comments came as he also reflected on the renovations done at Sky Mall, which has seen the 188 000 square foot building converted to green technology and the expansion of the mall at Haggatt Hall and its sister location at Bridge Street, the City, to include 75 000 square feet of state-of-the-art office spaces for the public sector.
He noted that Williams Industries under the chairmanship of Ralph ‘Bizzy’ Williams has been the catalyst for this expansion, having invested in NSR Limited – the company which owns the properties – and assuming the responsibility of repaying over $43 million of debt and expanding the premises at a cost of $30 million.
“The Government of Barbados must be congratulated for its commitment in participating in this project as well. This level of participation is no doubt integral to a substantial project of this size, particularly given the circumstances that gave rise to this investment,” he said. (JRT)