THE Ministry responsible for manufacturing has recently devised a proposal outlining a new suite of incentives for the sector.
That’s the word from Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, who revealed yesterday that the package is currently with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs for final comment, before it goes before Cabinet for approval.
He made the disclosure yesterday morning while speaking to the media after he, accompanied by Opposition Leader, Mia Mottley; Shadow Minister of Commerce, Industry and International Business, Kerrie Symmonds; and Leader of Opposition Business in Parliament, Santia Bradshaw, toured BMEX at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
Inniss noted that in addition to the proposed incentives, the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC) has brought in potential buyers from Panama, Canada and other parts of the world to see firsthand what is being produced in Barbados and to assist in marketing Barbadian products in those territories. His comments came as he indicated that the BIDC has also conducted outbound trade missions to Guyana, St. Lucia, Grenada and Cuba already for the year.
With that in mind, the Minister said the recent trade mission through which a “pretty good cross-section” of local manufacturers visited Cuba went “very well”, in spite of the fact that it is not an easy market to penetrate. But, he said, with 11 million persons living there and attracting 3.5 million visitors, it has potential that should not be ignored.
He made the point as he insisted there is the potential to expand the Cuba/Barbados trade relationship in both directions, adding that he anticipates that over the next three months they should be able to announce specific Barbadian products that will be entering the Cuban market.
With that in mind, he also acknowledged that there is more that Government has to do to help the sector, and so he pledged that they will continue to work with manufacturers to provide affordable spaces in which they can operate. Meanwhile, he said manufacturers also need support from the domestic market. He contended that while everything cannot be produced here, wherever possible Barbadians have a duty to give consideration to Barbadian products, being mindful of the fact that they are providing jobs and income for families here.
“It falls to each and every one of us as Barbadians to give support… When you go buying your goods in the supermarket, when you’re looking for your household items to ask the question, ‘Are they made in Barbados?’, and to give priority to that,” he said. (JRT)