The region has been taken to task for not taking the International Business and Financial Services (IBFS) sector seriously.
Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, took issue with the fact that not enough was being done in terms of investment in the sector???s development, considering it was the second largest contributor to Gross Domestic Product in the Caribbean region.
Addressing the opening ceremony of the Meeting of Ministries Responsible for International Business and Financial Services in CARIFORUM this morning at the Radisson Aquatica Resort Barbados, the International Business Minister said that ???the importance of the industry to the region is further emphasised in that it represented 17 per cent of GDP for the region as recently as 2011???.
???Here in Barbados recently tabulated statistics indicate the resilience of this sector to our economy. In 2012, the IBFS sector contributed $180.2 million to corporation taxes, as compared to $161.2 million for 2011. Overall estimated contribution of the IBFS to our economy in 2012 is $874 million (10.3 per cent GDP) compared with $806 million (9.3 per cent GDP) for 2011,??? he explained.
Noting that there was no room for complacency and ???a lot??? still had to be done; the Minister opined that he was confident that the IBFS was what was going to be responsible in great measure for turning around the economy in Barbados.
???I keep saying all the time that it???s a sector that we have to make a little bit more investment in both by the private sector and by the public sector. It has gone unattended to in terms of investment levels for too long and I think it is also important that we continue to remind Barbadians of the importance of this sector to this economy and society??????
Pointing out that it was not an area that was frequently publicised in the newspaper or the media, Mr. Inniss stated that the sector was ???quietly and steadfastly making a major contribution??? to the nation. He said that early in the New Year he intended as International Business Minister to be far more proactive and aggressive in the marketing plans and execution of the sector.
???We need to get out there and engage in getting more tax treaties to other jurisdictions,??? Mr. Inniss noted, adding that Latin America and Africa had already been identified as frontiers that would be explored in the New Year as well as the Middle East.
He disclosed that Government would roll out the Strategic Plan for International Business for the period 2014 to 2019 early next year, and added that it had already been discussed with stakeholders in both the public and private sectors.
The Minister further stated that the Plan would be presented to Cabinet and once that was done he would lead-off debate in Parliament on Barbados??? International Business and Financial Services Sector.