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More credit unions are being urged to ???get on board??? and get involved with micro and small business enterprises.

Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, believes that this would aid established and emerging entrepreneurs with their business operations and their proposed business plans.

He said that the credit unions must be immediately responsive to the varying needs of individuals and groups as it was essential therefore for a credit union to ???seriously consider providing even more diverse financial packages and solutions that might lead to substantial economic enfranchisement of ordinary Barbadians??????

Addressing the Annual General Meeting of the Barbados Light and Power Employees Co-operative Credit Union Limited last Saturday, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Mr. Inniss told attendees that it was also important for ???the credit union to carve their niche market to survive in this new environment.???

???In these times, business owners are seeking agencies to access credit at low interest rates, convenience, assistance and treatment as members of the credit union movement and this opportunity should not be ignored,??? he said.

Pointing out that there were also several investment opportunities available to credit unions,?? Mr. Inniss cited manufacturing, agriculture, fishing and tourism services, while adding he was sure that many small businesses would be extremely glad to know of the ease with which funding could be made available to them.

He also appealed to the credit union movement to play an increasing and significant role in the social and economic lives of people. Mr. Inniss reinforced this point by telling his audience they were an integral part of our financial system as they have the potential to bolster our national development programme.

???Excluding a focus on credit unions in these changing economic times will therefore retard the progress towards the removal of inequity in our wealth creation in order to improve this country???s social and economic well-being.

???It is therefore incumbent on all of us, that is, Government, the social partners, the private sector, civil society and employers and employees to give serious thought and take critical actions in arresting the contraction in real economic activity that is taking place in this country,????? he asserted.

Additionally, the Minister expressed concern that the ???co-operative nature and spirit of the credit union movement,??? was being undermined in their quest to offer more and more financial products. ???For example, today, our credit unions offer loans to Barbadians to go to Miami and shop, but I do not see offers to help our members who are designers, tailors and seamstresses cooperate and create a stronger design and apparel manufacturing base in Barbados,??? he declared.

theresa.blackman@barbados.gov.bb

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