Minister of Commerce and Trade, Senator Haynesley Benn

Businesses which fail often do so because they lack ???staying power’; but owners need to "stay the course", as they are crucial to the health of the economy.

So says Minister of Commerce and Trade, Senator Haynesley Benn, as he addressed the official launch of the new general store at The People’s Market, Tudor Bridge, St. Michael. The section serves as a new addition to the existing store, which opened last November.

Senator Benn praised R.L. Seale and Company Chairman, Sir David Seale, for his business acumen and determination in enterprise. In contrast, Mr. Benn said that many new business persons "come into business today and if you do not see the big returns, you pack up and move." He suggested that this was not the way to go.??

Senator Benn added that the example of The People’s Market opening a new department during "the current global economic downturn" spoke about the vision of its leaders, and lauded the creation of jobs which had resulted.

In reference to comments from the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which suggested that downsizing was imminent for 2012, the Commerce Minister made a special appeal to businesspersons to be committed, and "stay the course" and focus on increasing sales volume instead of prices.

"Government has established an atmosphere to facilitate a dynamic business sector through the granting of concessions to create jobs…Our focus has been on urging business people not to lay off [employees]…I am hoping that the Chamber of Commerce, which has a relationship with the Ministry of Commerce and Trade, would want to come and talk with [us] and… we can reason together," Mr. Benn observed, adding that he would be able to speak with the wider Cabinet to determine how businesses could be helped.??

Inhibitive pricing of products for Barbadians continued to be a main concern for Government, the Minister said, adding that "Government recognises that it is obligated to protect the interests of both the consumers and the commercial agents…A policy paper which will allow for equity to prevail in the market place is being finalised".????

Minister Benn noted that these efforts would be made against a backdrop of global price increases and with Barbados as a "price taking and net importing country", mitigation would prove a challenge.?? However, the fact remained that Government would continue its efforts to ease the strain, he stressed.

"…we’ve also now undertaken a draft paper on a cost of living strategy for Barbados 2011 to 2015…This strategy paper will go before Cabinet very early in the new year," he revealed.??


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