The contribution of this island’s international business sector to the social and economic development of Barbados is not to be underestimated.
Minister of Industry and International Business, Donville Inniss, made this assertion last Friday while addressing a Corporate Trust and Service Providers seminar in the Grande Salle, Tom Adams Financial Centre.
The Minister told his audience that quantitatively, the sector contributed over BDS $900 million annually to the economy, which, he noted, ranked second to the contributions made by the tourism industry.
Mr. Inniss quipped: “… I often argue with my dear friend and colleague Richard Sealy that the country gets a better return on its investment in international business and financial services than we do in tourism. I suspect that for every dollar that the government spends in the sector, they probably get a lot more than $2 back. And certainly for every dollar we earn in foreign exchange I suspect perhaps that 75 cents stays in Barbados.
“This is not to suggest that there is any war between tourism and international business – we need both of them. But, no one can discount the immense contribution that this sector makes to the economy of Barbados.”
Mr. Inniss maintained that service providers were quite aware of the contribution of how the sector benefited the economy and pointed to fees charged by companies, and jobs created and sustained by the sector. However, the Minister said he wanted Barbadians to be aware that indirectly, a significant number of workers could trace their employment back to the contribution of the international business sector.
He added: “Those who work in the banking industry, those working in the various law firms and those who are employed in ancillary services are really benefiting from this very important sector.
“As for you our valuable partners in the corporate trust and service providers arena…if the international business sector is really to move up the ranks and stay there, we recognise that we needed to have a cadre of professionals and companies who are appropriately licensed and regulated to ensure that we maintain a high level of professionalism.”
He reminded the gathering that they were the gatekeepers of the sector and were instrumental in the attraction and retention of businesses.