Barbados cannot develop its economy and create more entrepreneurs if businesses limit their thinking and market to just this island alone.
In fact, according to Commerce Minister Donville Inniss, the country needs to enhance its competitiveness and the export orientation of its firms as a prerequisite to maximising Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)-related market access opportunities.
He made these comments on Wednesday as he addressed the opening of a two-day workshop hosted by the Barbados Private Sector Trade Team and the Barbados Coalition of Service Industries entitled: Beyond the Border: A Practical Approach to Economic Sustainability, at the Radisson Aquatica Resort.
Mr. Inniss stated that over the years, there has been a thrust on the part of government agencies and business support agencies to get many local enterprises export-ready. However, he lamented that the private sector had not sought to “recognise and grab hold” of opportunities beyond the country’s borders.
Emphasising that getting businesses export-ready was a critical part of his Ministry’s work, he stated that the officials recognised that a unique culture and mindset was required to get businesses to look beyond Barbados in order to be truly international.
“The simple reality about it is that business facilitation in Barbados must be enhanced,” he charged.
Mr. Inniss added that he was not going to dwell on any business reports, and remarked that Barbados did not need external bodies to tell it where its weaknesses lie.
“We know our weaknesses and I dare say we also know what needs to be done to strengthen them. So, instead of harping on the negative, let us focus on how we can make things better, particularly in terms of the area of business facilitation, an integral part of deliberations at this workshop,” he urged.