Minister of Economic Affairs and Empowerment, Innovation, Trade, Industry and Commerce, Dr. David Estwick

Government is moving swiftly to upgrade the operations of the Barbados National Standards Institution (BNSI) to boost Barbados’ chances of being a major player in the international trading arena.

Minister of Economic Affairs and Empowerment, Innovation, Trade, Industry and Commerce, Dr. David Estwick, gave this assurance today following a tour at the BNSI’s Culloden Road, St. Michael office.

While lauding employees of the BNSI for working under sub-standard conditions, he pointed out that proper testing of products was a crucial element in maintaining high standards as a precondition to Barbados being a signatory to various trading arrangements.

“It makes no sense signing on to various trade agreements when you are blocked by a non-tarrif barrier simply because you cannot make the grade.  Therefore, if we are going to benefit from international trade, it is important that we strengthen our financial, human and technological resources to take advantage of the benefits,” he said.

Dr. Estwick further pointed out that: “We are not going to seriously develop world-class industries in Barbados if we do not move to operate within a world-class environment by providing those persons with the technological inputs to get the job done. Thus, we need to do better with respect to our infrastructure as we try to move forward in the area of industrial development.”

To effect this, the Economic Affairs Minister alluded to the creation of an Industrial Development Policy to give new focus to industrial development. He explained that the broad policy framework would also contain submissions from technocrats in the BNSI, the private sector and academia. “When this policy comes into effect, you will have Government’s input in the decision-making process as to which areas of business should be developed,” Dr. Estwick said.

He stated that: “Once you have identified those competitive advantages, the state would then fund the particular venture, and provide the human resources and technological support that would allow that sector to drive growth and development in Barbados.”

Acting Director of the BNSI, Anthea Ishmael, said the proposed Barbados National Standards Systems Modernisation project would improve the islands’ competitiveness by strengthening the existing facilities. The US $7.29 million project would involve construction of a new administration block, laboratory facilities and technological infrastructure.

The loan agreement between Government and the Inter-American Development Bank, was signed last July.

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