A tripartite body, the Council for Investment, Exports and Foreign Exchange (CIEX) has been established to coordinate the efforts of Barbados’ principal foreign exchange earning sectors and to ensure that the coordination is given “due central priority”.
This disclosure was made today by Prime Minister David Thompson as he addressed the Collaborative Conference of National Organisations and National Councils of Barbadian Organisations at Sherbourne Conference Centre.
Mr. Thompson explained that CIEX would be broader in scope than the Foreign Exchange Committee which was created in 1991 and would build upon its positive achievements. The new entity will explore several creative ways to attract investment into Barbados and to promote specific economic and social development initiatives.
Noting that they were two important areas, among others, in which these objectives could be achieved, he said: “At a time when the global economy is contracting, and with official development aid on a long-term decline, government is embarking on innovative methods to capture international funds in support of social and economic development.”
The Prime Minister also pointed out that investing private capital for a public return was a new approach to development financing, where corporations or wealthy individuals “invested” resources on the expectation of social or environmentally sustainable returns, whether or not they also expected a cash return.
“The new source of philanthropy capital has a range of advantages over traditional sources of development financing such as bilateral and multilateral aid or remittances. These include independence from politics, flexibility in development projects invested in and the ability to provide seed capital and long term funding,” he observed.
Mr. Thompson said that another important role of the Council would be the restoration of the relationship between Barbados and the tens of thousands of Barbadians living overseas.
He pointed out that remittances from such persons had grown from $64 million in 1992, to $263 million in 2006, and that such investment had created jobs, new housing, as well as business.
“Many of these contributions also come from Barbadians who may never return to Barbados permanently and therefore our policy is flawed if it only offers concessions and opportunities for those who have returned,” the Prime Minister opined.
In an effort to address this, he said that several initiatives would be introduced. These will include: establishing a unit for overseas Barbadians called Barbados Network; reviewing the incentives given to overseas Barbadians with a view to enhancing them; creating a bond to encourage the investment of foreign exchange by Barbados Networkers; developing a comprehensive Barbados Networkers Data Base; and hosting a Biennial Barbados Network Consultation in Barbados from 2010.
“I would also like to hold a meeting with your leaders every six months to monitor developments and keep your leaders abreast with developments. Modern technology does not require us to be in any one place and we can be linked-up technologically for that meeting,” Mr. Thompson stated. (GA)