Minister of Industry and International Business, Donville Inniss. (FP)

This year’s participants at the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Barbados’ (ICAB) Student Conference have been urged to see the provision of services as an opportunity to serve when thinking of charting their career paths.

The appeal came today from Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, as he addressed the ICAB event at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Two Mile Hill, St. Michael.

While opining that this would drive the expansion of Barbados’ value proposition to the world, he said: “We must move away from the thinking of ‘how a job can benefit us’ and look at ‘how best we can contribute to the goals of our organisations and Barbados as a jurisdiction’. We must take a critical look at how Barbados as a country is serving the world. This is imperative as it will dictate the quality of service we are able to provide.  It will also, ultimately, drive the transformation of our economy to one able to sustainably contribute to the development of our people and our nation.”

The Minister had earlier reflected on the World Bank’s 2018 Doing Business Report, which he said looked at Barbados’ economic climate for business and provided a ranking based on a number of business regulatory data indicators.

Pointing out that this ranked Barbados at 132 out of the 190 economies analysed, he said, last year we had ranked 117, and all this was primarily assessing was how well the country was doing in providing business services.

Acknowledging that Barbados had quite a bit of work to do, in both public and private sectors, to positively transform service delivery, he noted that the ingenuity of our people and their ability to think creatively and respond proactively to global change was necessary to push this transformation.

Barbadians, he remarked, were capable of finding domestic solutions to the pressures they currently faced. He said they had done so before when the need to diversify the economy, from one based on sugar production to one based on tourism, and the provision of international business and financial services was vital.

“I dare say these challenges confronting us today require no less commitment or dedication to the task. Rather, a greater urgency and passion in charting the course and exploring the possibilities that young creative minds, such as yours, bring to the marketplace. For it is this resource, and the use of technology that will foster the continued development that we seek. The creation of new products, new services, and new business strategies must, however, be generated from a ‘space’ of creating opportunities to serve others, for it is within that space of ‘service’ through which new ideas, new possibilities and strategies to ensure sustainability will flow,” the Minister stressed.

Students were also challenged to become innovators, flexible and transformative in their thinking and actions, and to have a renewed type of business professionalism that welcomed shifting global trends and a demanding global regulatory environment as opportunities.

Emphasising the word “professional”, the Commerce Minister said this was going to be key to the students’ success in life and in business.

Mr. Inniss added that far too often he had encountered individuals with accounting designations “who may be aptly qualified on paper, but are woefully lacking with respect to professionalism”.

And, he stressed: “You cannot compromise and take shortcuts when it comes to building and retaining your reputation as a professional accountant. Your reputation, ultimately, is all you will have to make you successful in your career, whether you are self-employed or otherwise engaged.”

Sharing his vision for the next five to 10 years, the International Business Minister said he perceived Barbados as a fully mature, sophisticated, international and domestic business centre offering to the world, a secure, transparent, reliable, stable business, but with a flexible regulatory environment and a vast array of services of the highest quality and value.

Stressing that the business sector continues and would continue to be the most significant contributor to the sustainable growth of the Barbadian economy, Mr. Inniss said the desire to serve must remain at the heart of the transformation necessary in this economy, as we chart the course and embrace new opportunities.

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