From Left: Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss; John Davies, Senior Vice President at Compass Lexecon; FTC Chairman Jefferson Cumberbatch; and Sandra Sealy, CEO of the Fair Trading Commission.
Business Monday: Don’t let Barbados become an over regulated society
CONSUMER Affairs Minister, Donville Inniss, has expressed concerns about the number of matters involving the private sector that are ending up before the Fair Trading Commission (FTC).
He said so on Friday night while giving brief remarks at the FTC lecture ceremony at the Accra Beach Resort.
While not pinpointing any of the matters, it is known that every year the Commission is called upon to decide on several issues that include anti-competitive behaviour, failure to adhere to fair competition, breaches to the Consumer Protection Act, and abuse of dominant position.
Inniss, who is also responsible for Industry, International Business and Small Business Development, argued that Barbados has to guard against becoming an over regulated society that can stifle creativity and entrepreneurship.
“We would have gone completely from east to west and be no better off,” the Minister said.
The Minister pointed out that while rivalry among firms must be encouraged in Barbados, it had to be done in the context of a clear competition policy.
“I boldly proclaim that we have a solid foundation and experience with competition policy as manifested via the various pieces of legislation that governs the work of the FTC and the Office of Public Counsel,” Inniss stated.
He said that such work has resulted in the relatively smooth break up of the telecoms monopoly and in the sale of or merger of major corporate players in key economic sectors. On this score, Inniss remarked that among other things, Barbados has to be realistic about its size and what can occur in our space.
The Minister stated that the country has to connect with the economic realities of our time.
“I expect that we will see more mergers and acquisitions and as such, we must work with greater urgency and resolve to address such,” he contended.
Inniss maintained that having laid the solid foundation Barbados must occasionally revisit its competition law and competitive authorities to ensure they reflect prevailing times.
He suggested that the time has come for Barbados to do such “if we are to truly foster a competitive environment for individuals and entities to find their true potential”.