More support and recognition are needed for the International Business Sector, and according to Minister of International Business, Donville Inniss, government will continue to explore ???all avenues??? to keep this important sector afloat.
He made the comments during the launch of International Business Week 2013, at the Hilton Barbados, which is being celebrated from October 20 to 26 under the theme International Business Barbados???Embrace the Opportunities.
The Minister said: ???Without the International Business Sector the Barbadian economy would collapse and without the International Business Sector the Barbados economy would not show the level of growth that it so rightly needs.???
Before an audience that included key strategic partners of the International Business community, Mr. Inniss asserted that in order for this recognition to be achieved ???each and every Barbadian must appreciate what is and who is the International Business sector and its importance to this economy.???
He added: ???It is not about wealthy, fair-skinned individuals who come to our shores seeking to pay lower tax???It is also about the hundreds of Barbadians who are gainfully employed in the sector who are well paid directly. It is about the thousands of Barbadians who work in the restaurants, the hotels and bars who provide services in horticulture, cleaning services, financial services and legal services??? It???s about thousands of those whose livelihoods are heavily influenced… by the international business sector.???
Noting there was still plenty to be done on the policy side to get it right, the Minister said he was certain that his Ministry, along with the relevant stakeholders, would make every effort to address the challenges that lay within the remit of the Ministry.
He alluded that he was aware of the issues that continue to confront Barbados in terms of its external market, such as the OECD and the G20, and added, ???Even though there is not a public hue and cry from our end about it???we are very much aware of the challenges???we continue to endeavour to be in places that it matters the most, where our voices can be heard to make sure that the message goes forth that Barbados does not intend to roll over and play dead and subject itself to the whims and fancies of those from international agencies and developed states.???
Meanwhile, President of the Barbados International Business Association, Ryle Weekes, pointed out that according to recent data from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, there has been a surge in annual foreign direct investment inflows into international financial centres, from US$15 billion to US$ 75 billion over the last five years. He told those gathered that ???this was the sort of exponential growth that Barbados could be tapping into if we were truly prepared to embrace the opportunities.???
He continued: ???Imagine what a fraction of that could do for our economy. To shore up our foreign reserves, fund our health care and education, build our roads and care for our disadvantaged. Can we really afford to let such opportunities slip through our grasp???? he queried.