Private sector should pursue activities to boost economic growth

FORMER Prime Minister Owen Arthur is appealing to the local private sector to become more active and get involved in activities to boost investment and economic growth in Barbados.

Several private sector officials were in attendance at the lecture which Arthur presented on Monday night at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill. They heard him say that Barbados needs a new economy based on technology, innovation and entrepreneurship.

However, he reasoned that with the State sector expected to shrink as Barbados pursues an economic arrangement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the business community has to take up the slack.

“If we want to have economic growth in Barbados, the private sector has to conceive a programme to promote that,” Arthur told a large audience in the Roy Marshall Lecture Hall where the function took place.

He insisted that this must be the way forward for the country rather that the private sector coming together to tell Government what should be done without that same private sector saying what it plans to do.

Arthur who served as Prime Minister between 1994 and early 2008, indicated that this country has to also overcome a situation where there is excess liquidity in the banking system but access to financing for business development remains an issue. “This is one of the biggest constraints holding up the development of Barbados,” he reasoned.

He noted that people are going to lose jobs under the IMF programme and chances are they will not be re-employed. “Entrepreneurship exists in the minds but it does not exists in access to financing,” said Arthur.

“The role of the State is going to be compressed and were I to advise the government I would tell them to stop consulting with the private sector which will tell Government what it should do, but not what the private plans to do,” he suggested. (JB)

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