Minister of Energy, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Kerrie Symmonds. (FP)

Minister of Energy, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Kerrie Symmonds, has listed a number of initiatives achieved by his Ministry that are aimed at making business facilitation much easier for all. 

He made the comments today while delivering the feature address at a virtual press conference to launch Global Entrepreneurship Week 2021.

Mr. Symmonds told the online audience that despite initiatives already in place, or those slated to come on stream shortly, more still needed to be done to facilitate business transactions via the web.             

He stated: “We speak of business facilitation all too often as though this is some magic potion for foreign investors and we understand it very glibly to be about expediting work permits and we understand it very glibly to be about ease of being able to go through a land acquisition process and so on. But there are some basic things that we must do in Barbados to facilitate businesses of all types, [and] at all levels across this country, if we are to be a society that is fair to all.”

Noting that equal opportunities for business facilitation was, “vital and indispensable,” Mr. Symmonds disclosed that his Ministry had revamped the Liquor Licence régime and from next year, the process will be done online and not through the Magistrates’ Courts.

He also cited the application process for the Police Certificate of Character as another example of government eliminating a situation where persons “wait in line from 6:00 or 7:00 a.m. and then wait a period of three or four months to come back with a Certificate of Character”.

Of equal importance, Mr. Symmonds said, was the ending of an over 300-year- old régime governing vending and the issuing of Vendors’ Licences which, for the first time, will be managed entirely online.

The Minister also mentioned the importance of training small and micro businesses in standards to become more competitive and thus move their operations to export level. 

“…Standards are the keys that unlock access to international trade.  It is impossible for anybody in Barbados, who is selling a product overseas or a service to do so, without meeting the standards of the importing country. We want all of our business people to be familiar and comfortable with the language of what the standards are in the sector that they are in, what the international requirements and best practices are and how they can deliver on those,” he underlined.

Mr. Symmonds added that the Barbados National Standards Institution had been commandeered to “up its game” and to reach out more to the business community.

He used the opportunity to reiterate his displeasure that of the approximately 9,000 enterprises on record, only 50 had done business with the organisation.

The Small Business Minister reasoned that conversations about lifting the game will not be achieved if all businesses did not walk “hand-in-hand” with the “only standards development institute and ensuring that best practices and international trade requirements are understood and met so that we can deliver the best that we can domestically to those doing business with you here in Barbados. And that you are in a position to do the same thing when you try to do your business across boarders”.

Global Entrepreneurship Week which began today, concludes on Friday, November 12.

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