Government has appointed Director of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Terry Bascombe, as Coordinator of the Barbados Competitiveness Programme.?? His appointment took effect from Monday, May 17.?? Mr. Bascombe was the Director of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, for the past six years.
Mr. Bascombe will be assisted by Deputy Programme Coordinator, Delano Scantlebury, and other support staff within the small Programme Coordinating Unit.?? Mr. Scantlebury, until his re-assignment, was a Senior Economist in the Research Department, at the Divison of Trade, Industry and Commerce.
In outlining the significance of the programme, Mr. Bascombe explained that Barbados now ranked 44th out of 131 countries according to the 2009 Global Competitiveness Index, published by the World Economic Forum.
He also disclosed that the programme has four major components, which were broken down into a number of sub-components that would complement the aims and objectives of the project.
Mr. Bascombe noted: "Essentially, the assignment would rationalise the incentives and regulatory systems associated with business development; rationalise the institutional architecture of business development services; lower the cost of moving
goods and people and introduce a framework for clustering initiatives. The venture would also improve trade facilitation and logistics; build public/private partnerships; strengthen public/private dialogue and develop a medium-term competitiveness strategy."
The outgoing Commerce Director also underscored the importance of competitiveness within the context of economic development. "Competitive economies tend to be more sustainable, resilient and usually experience an increase in welfare, as the country moves closer to its optimal production possibility frontier. So, all sectors need to work in unison for the benefit of Barbados, and I am pleased to be associated with such a major programme …," Mr. Bascombe added.
The joint Barbados Government/European Union US $11.8 million loan agreement, was signed earlier this year, by Prime Minister David Thompson.?? As part of this arrangement, Government will provide US $1.8 million, while the Inter-American Development Bank will pump US $10 million into the project.
Before the funds are disbursed, Mr. Bascombe intimated that his first order of business was "to ensure that Barbados meets the four conditions prior to the first disbursement as stipulated by the loan document."
He further explained: "The terms are to be met within the first 180 days of signing the Agreement.?? If the conditions are not satisfied, then the borrowing country usually incurs a penalty."