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In the wake of the Barbados Bankers Association’s announcement of their decision to leave the local debit network – CarIFS – Government has a responsibility to ensure financial inclusion at the national level, including the micro and small business sector. 

Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce, Dwight Sutherland, emphasized this on Tuesday as he addressed the unveiling of The New Approach and Consumer Plans of C&W Business, at Sandal’s Royal Barbados, Maxwell, Christ Church.

While praising C&W Business and FLOW for assisting the micro, small and medium-sized enterprise (MSME) sector, Minister Sutherland stated that along with initiatives that provide businesses with additional capacity in the area of information and communications technology (ICT), it was critical that there “be access to a workable solution that will drive the sector in the area of payments”.

Noting that at the end of the day this was how small businesses were sustained, the Commerce Minister said he had met with members of the credit union movement and “they have to rely on a system next year, other than the CarIFS system”. 

He pointed out that a significant number of MSMEs were among the credit union membership, and within Barbados’ population of 280,000, there was a credit union base of approximately 200,000. 

“We have a duty as a Government.  So, I am actively engaged in the development of an alternative platform to the CarIFS for the credit union movement. You will hear more about this very soon,” he said.

Those gathered also heard that now was the opportune time for using ICT in the development of small businesses in Barbados, as more and more apps were being made available for persons to pay for goods and services using their mobile phones.

And, the Small Business Minister challenged C&W Business and FLOW, as a Telecomm provider, to make headway in terms of payment solutions. 

While Mr. Sutherland suggested that mMoney could be considered, he expressed pleasure at the fact that C&W Business and FLOW had recognized MSMEs as a critical sector requiring “so much more than traditional telecom services”. 

“In an increasingly digital age, uninterrupted connectivity, speed of service and easy access for customers are crucial for small businesses from the outset. I believe that the services and solutions that were revealed here… will provide MSMEs with the necessary tools to assist them in carrying their business to the next level,” the Small Business Minister stressed.

joy-ann.gill@barbados.gov.bb

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