Any vision for the manufacturing sector must reflect the fact that manufacturing as an activity, carried out globally, is characterised by production that is dispersed across borders and involves creativity, innovation and the use of information technology.
This was emphasised last Friday by Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, at the official opening of BMEX 2018, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
Stressing that the sector should be enterprising and highly skilled, providing opportunities for wealth creation, job creation and economic growth, Mr. Inniss said: “It is envisioned that the sector will become one that that is bold, innovative, knowledge-driven and export-focused; one that transcends traditional industries.”
He added that it should also competitively produce goods reflecting the island’s heritage and traditions, as well as be attractive to domestic and international consumers.
It was also noted that the sector should take advantage of the strength of the Barbados brand and leverage its tradition of excellence; utilise innovative technology and undertake collaborative research and development, through strategic alliances.
The Industry Minister noted that Government’s vision for the sector would also take into consideration the delivery of requisite product offerings, employing higher levels of relevant research, development and technology and exceeding customer expectations.
Moreover, he pointed out that as a sector built to last it, would be supported by facilitatory policy and legislative framework and an efficient business environment. However, he contended that part of this efficient environment had to address the issue of dumping of goods in Barbados.
“We cannot realistically expect local manufacturers to make such significant investments in plant and equipment and then turn a blind eye when others who may be dumping in our midst help them to drag the cost down,” Mr. Inniss said.
He denounced the action and noted that his Ministry was embarking on “thorough investigations” into the allegations of dumping and uncompetitive products that seek to undermine the manufacturing sector.
Meanwhile, President of the Barbados Manufacturers’ Association (BMA), Robert Noel, in his address, urged any Government taking up the reins from May 25, to give greater consideration to the needs of the local manufacturing sector.
“Our manufacturing sector creates jobs for countless Barbadians and utilises local resources wherever possible to add value to the products it creates. The sector also brings in critical foreign exchange which we so desperately need,” he pointed out, as he assured the gathering that BMA would do its part to ensure the sector survived.
Pointing out that for 2018, the BMA aimed to broaden services offered, he said this would ensure all Barbadian manufacturers understood the benefits of joining the Association.
“The BMA will continue to advocate on behalf of our companies; give input on important trade negotiations; contribute to key policy decisions; and provide advice and training opportunities for our membership,” he added.
The President further gave the assurance that the BMA would never grow weary of canvassing the Barbadian population to “buy local”.
BMEX, a production of the BMA, ran from May 18 to 21, and was held under the theme: Bajan… Fuh Real!!