A Government Official wants Barbadians to consider the manufacturing industry as "another means of creating wealth and employment."
This call has come from Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Senator Darcy Boyce, while speaking at the opening ceremony of the Barbados Manufacturers’ Exhibition (BMEX), last Friday evening at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Complex.
Senator Boyce stated that the majority of developed countries have a strong manufacturing sector at the centre of their economy, and that in order for the sector to work effectively in Barbados, people needed to change their mindset towards goods produced locally.
"There are two assumptions that I now want to challenge.?? First, it is not always true that foreign-produced goods are better than what we produce locally. You know and I know that our products can stand the test anywhere in the world. For example, Barbados rum, dairy products, furniture and fashion design are internationally renowned for their quality.
"Secondly, there is the assumption, often wrong, that price is the main criterion for purchasing goods. Many discerning customers are prepared to pay more for a product of high quality than to acquire low quality products at bargain prices.?? The value proposition must, however, at all times be attractive to your customers," he noted.
He added that if the products exhibited at BMEX set the standard for the quality of most local products it makes sense for Barbadians to "Buy Smart … Buy Local."
In highlighting the rising cost of fuel as one of the major problems local manufacturers faced, Senator Boyce said: "Government is currently working on a package to assist in growing the alternative and renewable energy sector.?? Consideration is being given to incentives, including an Energy Fund and fiscal incentives, as well as energy generation projects within the government sector.?? These initiatives will help take our solar energy industry from the stage of warming water, to producing the power we need to light our homes and places of work, and to drive our appliances and machines.
"The further development of the alternative renewable energy industry will not only stabilise our energy costs but will also reduce them.?? This development will also save us very valuable foreign exchange through savings in our use of imported fuels. Moreover, we expect that the further development of this renewable energy industry will generate opportunities for our manufacturers and skilled jobs for many of our people."
He added that non-tariff barriers, which sometimes restricted the movement of goods through the region, was highlighted by the Barbados Manufacturers’ Association as another major area of concern.??
"I want to assure you of Barbados’ commitment to the inevitable integration of countries that culturally, politically, socially and economically belong together, and we do not ever forget that nearly 50 per cent of our exports go to CARICOM countries.?? Further, Barbados continues to honour its CARICOM commitments.?? We, therefore, expect that the non-tariff barriers being placed as hurdles in the way of exports of Barbadian manufactured goods to other CARICOM countries will be removed very shortly," Senator Boyce stressed.