Government and the private sector have reaffirmed their commitment to working together to address some of the lingering challenges of doing business in Barbados, and have pledged to come up with viable solutions to stimulate and re-energise the economy.

During a press conference this afternoon at the International Business Division at Baobab Tower, Warrens, St. Michael, Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, spoke to the outcome of a near two-hour meeting in which he engaged with leaders of the private sector who represent key sectors in tourism, agriculture and manufacturing.

Describing the discussions as ???extremely useful???, Mr. Inniss said they were able to identify some of the key agencies and specific challenges as well as some solutions that they thought they could work on quickly.

Stating that he recognised and understood the importance of the various sectors to Barbados??? economic development, Mr. Inniss noted that one of the problems they had in the past was a lack of effective communication between the stakeholders.

???What I am seeking here to do via my Ministry is to make that something of the past by ensuring that there is regular constructive dialogue between all stakeholders who form what we consider to be the private sector in Barbados. We have to operate on the premise that the Government is not the one to have all of the solutions on all of the issues but what we must do is be prepared to listen and to generally work in a partnership with others,??? he stated.

Among some of the pertinent matters addressed during the talks was the issue of International Business in terms of the treaties that needed to be wrapped up, the markets that needed to be ventured into, and legislative reforms that were necessary. And, the Industry Minister further indicated that there were also outstanding areas involving immigration and customs.

???We certainly recognise that in terms of banking and other sectors, that there is the need for us on the Government???s end to be crystal clear as to the priority areas for economic development and to ensure that we partner with the private sector including the banking fraternity to have the solutions brought to the fore to address them??? this also includes financing mechanisms that are necessary to drive specific sectors forward,??? he stressed.

Noting that Government recognised and celebrated the importance of the micro and small business sector in economic development not just because the country is going through challenging times, the Minister said that in many respects the small business sector has been the pillar of economic development in Barbados over the years.

The contribution of the agriculture sector and its tremendous potential to the economic growth of the economy was also discussed and Mr. Inniss observed that the linkages between agriculture, tourism and business must be acknowledged and further developed.

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