The answer for short, medium and long-term growth, supported by a viable productive sector, lies in the creative thinking and efficient management of resources in the private and public sectors.

This view was proffered today by Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Senator Jepter Ince, as he delivered the keynote address at the Seventh Annual Lecture Series of the Division of Economic Affairs, at the Warrens Office Complex. The theme was Private Sector-Led Growth and Development in Barbados.

Senator Ince told his audience: ???There is simply no substitute for a confident, healthy, investing, innovating and growing private sector to foster the growth that underpins the stability and advancement of our society.

???It should be noted that for this initiative to be highly successful, Government must be proactive in implementing business policies with limited time lags,??? he contended.

He pointed out that over the past nine months Government had been in consultation with stakeholders to ensure that efforts to improve the framework and conditions for open and competitive markets were at the core of its policies.

The Parliamentary Secretary acknowledged that Caribbean trade in goods and services with longstanding partners Europe and the United States, was paramount to long-term development, but stressed that Barbados must continue exploring its trade relations with China and Central and South America.

He expressed the view that Barbados had expended a great deal of technical and political resources negotiating new trade agreements.

???But, this development has not resulted in the kind of reciprocal export or in financial terms, the type of returns that are expected when we considered the current speculative and sometimes hostile global environment, challenged by constraints of transport, high energy costs and in some cases, the absence of financing,??? he explained.

Senator Ince described the Caribbean Sea as an asset that could enable new ideas and he highlighted the widening of the Panama Canal as an opportunity for Barbados to become a logistics hub. He argued, however, that Barbados must decide if it wanted to be a victim or beneficiary of change.

???We can no longer let external forces and actors determine our future by default. This Government, having recognised the opportunities and untapped resources, is aggressively pursuing them with able support from the private sector??? Government continues to intensify actions around energy production and consumption fully aware that dynamic changes in the world???s energy sector can change the economic dynamics for us in the region,??? he surmised.

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